In this eight-part blog series, Stephenson expounds on each of the things he says church leaders must do to create an evangelistic environment.
Part 1: pray
We are engaged in war. The Apostle Paul uses language throughout his letters that grips our hearts and reminds us as Christians that there is an unseen battle waging in the heavens.
Evangelism is a declaration of war on the principalities of darkness that exist in our world. The issues at hand are life and death. We cannot remain indifferent in carrying out our responsibilities of being followers of Christ. Thus, prayer has to be fundamentally tied to evangelism.
Why is prayer so important in carrying out the work of evangelism? Here are a few reasons:
1. Prayer connects us to the heart of God. This is the most important reason to pray. John 15:5 reminds us that those who abide in God’s presence will bear much fruit. Apart from God, we can do nothing.
Knowing God changes our heart toward people and teaches us compassion toward the hurts and hang-ups of the world. Furthermore, it keeps us strong and healthy in accomplishing the mission.
2. Prayer keeps us focused on the harvest. Jesus tells us in Matthew 9:37 that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. He then commissions us to ask God to send out laborers into the fields. This commission ties our prayers directly to the release of laborers.
Are we praying this way in our churches? Let’s not get discouraged that the laborers are few but be excited that the harvest is plentiful.
3. Prayer releases God’s power for evangelism. Prayer is one of the greatest tools that God has placed in our toolboxes; yet, it is often neglected. Prayer is our “power cord” that plugs into his presence and power. If we neglect getting charged, we become useless as a force in expanding the kingdom of God.
Prayer becomes a place where we find power for the mission and courage for the conversation. It breaks down strongholds and opens the door to lives being changed.
What could happen in your community if churches prayed together about people coming to Christ? Who could be saved?
Lee Stephenson, Former Vice President of Church Planting
Lee Stephenson served as Converge's vice president of Church Planting from 2015-2022. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harvest Community Church, a Central Florida multisite church. Before coming to Florida, he and his wife, Melissa, planted a church in Mesa, Arizona. Stephenson has worked to establish new church plants around the country and is a go-to coach and trainer for church leadership and planting.