Here on the City Gospel Movements team, we are strong believers of the key role that evangelism plays in the Church and in the lives of individual believers. We are constantly looking to share ways that cities are elevating the conversation on evangelism within their unique cultural contexts. We are excited to share one of the recent ways various church leaders from all across the Portland metro area have drawn together with the Luis Palau Association to help encourage and equip church leaders and everyday believers.
On May 30th, the Portland Evangelism Team and the Luis Palau Association hosted an event called Show & Tell, a day filled with encouragement and practical ideas on how individuals and churches can share their faith. The day consisted of two parts: a lunch gathering for leaders from churches and various non-profits throughout the Portland area and an evening session open to all local believers. Both of these sessions consisted of Ted Talk-style presentations from three nationally-known leaders (Shaila Visser, Mark Mittelberg, and Greg Stier) and the chance to share testimonies from new believers in Portland. You can access the recorded talks at the end of this article to use as a resource in your city!
LUNCH GATHERING FOR LEADERS (9:00am – 1:00pm)
The morning session was a time to equip pastors and non-profit leaders to practice evangelism in their various spheres of influence. Each of the key speakers shared wisdom they had learned in their time leading evangelism-focused organizations and churches.
Shaila Visser, National Director of Alpha Canada and the Global Senior Vice-President for Alpha International, opened the morning. Shaila challenged the notion of a “silver bullet”‒a single church program, class, sermon series, etc.‒that magically creates a culture of evangelism in a church or organization. The attributes of the leader running the organization are greater indicators of whether evangelism will flourish in their organization.
Mark Mittelberg, bestselling author, speaker, and leading strategist in evangelism outreach, offered six practical steps to make evangelism sustainable within a community. Mark reiterated the theme that leaders set the bar for evangelism, and therefore, must model evangelism in their own life. By sharing stories of sharing the gospel‒or learning to share the gospel in their own way!‒leaders create a culture around them of gospel conversations.
Greg Stier, founder of Dare 2 Share ministry and former church planter, championed the importance of the church reaching people with the Gospel. He challenged churches to share the Gospel and offer a chance to respond every single week.
In-between speakers, five individuals from the Portland area (many who had come to faith within the last year) shared their testimonies through a question-and-answer interview with local pastor, Jose Zayas. Live testimonies reminded listeners that the end goal of evangelism is the transformation of people’s lives, not the creation of an impressive model or program. God reveals himself in powerful ways despite the varied circumstances of many of these individual’s lives.
Attendees enjoyed building relationships over lunch and received additional insight from the speakers during a panel discussion. Luis Palau closed the session by encouraging the leaders through a short message and prayer.
EVENING GATHERING FOR LOCAL BELIEVERS (7:00pm – 9:00pm)
While the morning session focused on training ministry leaders, the evening was a time for everyday believers who wanted to learn more about practical, natural, and simple ways to share their faith with others.
The evening began with a time of worship led by local pastor and musician, Josh White.
Shaila anchored her talk in this quote by Darrel Johnson: “Evangelism is joining a conversation that the Holy Spirit is already having with someone.” Shaila freed listeners from the pressure of being initiators and instead positioned them to ask God where He is at work and how they can join Him.
In addition to leaning into the Spirit, Mark highlighted six different ways people express evangelism depending on their unique personality. He affirmed the element of risk and adventure that often comes with sharing the Gospel but acknowledged that this is far different from pretending to be someone you are not.
Greg bridged these ideas of being empowered by the Holy Spirit and finding your natural approach to evangelism by offering practical content of what to actually say when having these conversations. His simple acronym (G.O.S.P.E.L.) guides people through the basics of sharing their faith in a natural, conversational way.
Similarly to the morning session, a handful of people shared their testimonies as an encouragement to the personal impact, not just theoretical ideology, that these practices have on the lives of people.
We were so excited to see the eagerness of people to learn and grow in their understanding of evangelism across Portland. We believe that the Lord is in the process of moving in new and powerful ways in cities when we join together and seek ways to share and proclaim His name. That said, we hope evangelism trainings like this one are not an oddity but become the norm in gospel movements in cities everywhere.
Want to equip your local leaders and believers with the video resources from these incredible talks? Watch them here!
Interested in getting connected to a coach to brain storm the next steps? We’re here to help.
Looking to elevate the conversation on evangelism in your own city? Read on.
Want to identify and equip evangelists? Check out LPA’s Next Generation Alliance team.