Essentials to an Effective Outreach

I had the unbelievable opportunity a few weeks ago to meet with Sterling Huston, one of Billy Graham's long time associates and one of the greatest outreach directors in history.  

I was so blessed to be able to share about our lives and what we feel God is putting in our hearts, and to receive feedback from this godly man.

Sterling shared some incredible insights about what keeps evangelists in evangelism long term.

He told me that we must view evangelism as a process.  It is not only the proclamation of the Gospel, but also includes several other important elements.

Prayer

I have never seen a ministry so focused on prayer as this one.  He said one of the first questions Mr. Graham would ask when considering a city for a future outreach, is how many of the people are praying?  Evangelism as a process mobilizes local churches to unified, passionate prayer.

Preparation

Outreach ministry goes much further with more unity and partnership from local churches. Together we can do more than alone.  Time in preparation for an outreach increases the impact.  Building teams to do this is vital.

Preservation 

All outreach should be build to make disciples, not simply converts.  The success of any outreach, as defined by this one, is discipleship, not crowd size.  Systems, teams and time should be given to preparing to and actually following up.  I was blown away by the Follow Up Discipleship seminar I attended earlier this month - I could think of so many pastor friends I wished could have experienced it if even for their own ministries.  95% of those who respond in any BGEA outreach are plugged into a local church, because preservation is a priority.

There are others, and to learn more of his rare wisdom from decades of outreach experience, pick up Crusade Evangelism and the Local Church by Sterling Huston.

Here's to the Process.