Seek the best for your community and see your influence grow
Imagine a church of 850 in attendance winning nearly 2,000 people to the Lord in the space of just 12 months. In addition, imagine that church being featured in Charisma magazine as one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. Imagine this church had been stuck at a plateau for over three years. Sound unimaginable? That’s exactly what happened to my church in 2009-2010.
When our church was at a plateau, I become weary in attempting to motivate my congregation to regularly evangelize. Some responded, but I didn’t get the results I was looking for. I couldn’t understand why most wouldn’t or just didn’t. I needed a unique strategy for our house.
First, I began to focus on increasing their love quotient. I believe evangelism flows best out of a heart overflowing with love for the Lord. So, I talked more about God’s attributes and personality—attempting to cause their hearts to soar. I motivated the church to focus on intense prayer, asking the Lord to mark each heart with His presence.
Thankfully, His presence did intensify. My attempt was to cause them to be awestruck by God’s love because a person in love can’t shut up. I also began to teach on evangelism and soul winning. One of the most popular series I preached was called “Fame Through Harvest.”
Next, I began to declare prophetically “A Year of Harvest” to keep the faith goal of evangelism before them. I placed two boards in front of the church, each with a title: Unsaved and Saved. Then I asked members to bring pictures of those they wanted to see saved and pinned them on the “Unsaved” board. We laid hands on these pictures and prayed over them every Sunday. When someone got saved, we would celebrate and move their picture to the other board.
As a result of these strategies, we saw 1,200 people saved in Sunday Services alone in just 12 months. Our outreach ministries brought in another 700. I remember the first altar call I did in January 2010. At the end of worship I gave a “not so passionate” appeal for salvation immediately after worship—I had not preached my sermon yet. Sixty-nine people came to be saved that day. The next Sunday 25 responded and the Sunday after that 49 responded. This continued throughout the year.
Our congregation had shifted. They were now inviting the unsaved to church in large numbers. These unsaved people were being impacted by God’s love, which melted their resistance to the gospel. People felt safe enough to respond to a public invitation in front of hundreds of people. We all rejoiced in what God was doing.
One thing we learned is that we had to be ready for harvest when it came. Souls came at us so fast we had to quickly restructure our discipleship and assimilation plan. This experience has motivated me to consider how I can sustain this kind of growth and assist others in touching a generation of inner city youth.
That is the goal of 818/The Sign—A ministry I oversee led by Will and Dehavilland Ford. Through prayer, fasting, solemn assemblies and radical evangelism strategies, we aim to infect a generation of urban youth with passionate zeal for God and tenacious evangelism. We believe this can result in revival in our inner cities and a degree of Awakening in America.
As you seek the Lord He will give you the unique key for your church, your personal “souls goal.” As we continue to make evangelism our focus I believe the Lord will give all of us a much greater harvest.
Kyle Searcy is teacher and pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, Ala. He oversees 205 churches in America and overseas. Kyle is a member of the International Apostolic Council of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches under the leadership of Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. His book, The Power of Wisdom: Releasing the Mantle of Wisdom in Your Life, will be released by in fall 2012. Kyle has been married to his wife, Kemi, for 20 years. They have four children.