One of my sons serves as the teaching pastor at a church, sharing the teaching with the lead pastor of the church. I do the “dad thing” and listen to his sermons whenever he preaches (I listen to the senior pastor, too). I play the role of proud dad – hopefully well.

 It’s a weird stage in life when our adult children periodically say something that gets stuck in our parental brains and causes us to think, “Wow – that was important and well-said.” That happened recently. Here is the comment that got stuck in my brain.

“The life of a Christian is the greatest advertisement for the gospel.”[1]

Before anyone takes offense at the word, “advertisement,” Let me share with you the Encyclopedia[2] definition of “advertisement”:

“The techniques and practices used to bring products, services, opinions or causes to public notice for the purpose of persuading the public to respond in a certain way" En

 The advertisement of the gospel is not a commercial enterprise – it is communicating the cause of the gospel of Christ to the public in an effort to have people respond by coming to saving faith in Christ.

 The research I have seen indicates that the vast majority of Christians were introduced to Jesus and placed their faith in Him through a relationship they had with someone already a Christ-follower. More simply put, most Christians became a Christian because of a relationship with a Christian. Oftentimes the Christian invited or brought the not-yet-Christian to some kind of event or gathering of Christians (church weekend services, kid’s programs, special speakers, men’s and women’s groups, etc.), but the common denominator was the personal relationship with someone that was already a Christ-follower sharing the gospel with them.

This has implications for those of us that serve in ministries of church leadership, so it is something to talk about. Here are some ideas to get your conversation started.

  • Discuss among your team how each member of the team came to faith in Christ. Can most or all point to a person (friend, neighbor, parent, etc.) with whom they had a relationship who influenced or led them toward Christ? Describe the relationship and what that person did to introduce them to Jesus.

  • If one of the primary purposes of the church and its members is to glorify God by proclaiming and sharing the gospel (if not the primary purpose), are we communicating that truth to those we lead in an effective way? What has worked and what hasn’t worked to exhort and encourage individuals in our flock to share the Gospel with the people they know? If this is not the primary purpose of the church and its members, what is?

  • Are our churches places where a member can bring an unbelieving friend to “come and see” what being a Christ-follower is like? Will he or she feel welcome or watched? Everything a church does may not be the best tool for “come and see” invitations, but what are those things we do that would serve this purpose well? Have we shared this with the congregation?

  • The strategist in me cannot help but ask this question: “What is your church’s strategy for sharing the gospel with lost people?” The follow-up question is also important – “Is our strategy achieving the intended results?” What are the intended results? If we are not getting the intended results, when is the time to change that strategy?

  • Outside the walls of our buildings, are our members intentionally engaged in sharing the gospel with people they know? If not, why not, and what should we leaders do about it?

  • Are we equipping the saints to share the gospel? I see “equipping” having three key elements. The first is the giving of instruction or education/training. The second is the giving of necessary or beneficial tools to accomplish the task. The third is practice and reminding them of the task. Most churches I know do some instruction in sharing the gospel, but far fewer provide any tools. Fewer still provide practice. Does your church provide any tools to remind people of their role in sharing the gospel and in accomplishing it? What are they, and are they working? Do we ever practice? How might we do so?

This may not be universally true, but it has been my experience that most churches are not effective in having their congregants individually actively involved in their roles of bearers of the gospel and sharers of the gospel. One of the commonalities I see in most declining churches (including those that claim to be “plateaued”) is a congregation not actively engaged in sharing the gospel. Conversely, churches where congregants are intentional and active in sharing the gospel with others are seeing people coming to faith in Christ, getting baptized, and being discipled in the church.

 Are your congregants intentional and active in sharing the gospel? If yes, praise God! If no, that’s something to talk about and to address. The gospel is good news – let’s spread it around our hurting world.

Let us know if we can help and how your conversation goes. Contact Bob Osborne by e-mail at

This is one of a series of articles intended to facilitate and guide church leaders’ conversations about significant issues that often are not talked about among pastors, boards, and church leadership teams. Visit the EFCA West website to see prior Something to Talk About articles.

[1] Taken from Expositor’s Bible Commentary

[2] Viewed on the Website on July 19, 2023