9 ways

Teach Others How to Bridge the Gap between Mission-Heart and Know-How

Sitting across the table from me on a warm Friday morning was Dr. Gary Comer, the author of Soul Whisperer and a man passionate about missional impact.

In a candid interview with Dr. Comer, we learned about his research and zeal for equipping disciples with a deeper perspective on how to speak into people’s lives like Christ did.

“Churches have a big heart and the potential to touch the community in impactful ways.” Comer shared. He went on to discuss how many churches have plans to get new people in the doors — perhaps through events, small groups, or engaging, vibrant services intended to speak to the heart. But what about the evangelistic skill set of the church attendee sitting in the pew on Sunday mornings? Do they know how to create safe conversations? Do they know how to meet people where they are? The lost, who are unlikely to ever attend a church event or service, need regular people to meet them where they are…and churches may not have an opportunity to accomplish this behind a pulpit or even within the physical church doors.

What if you could speak to the insecurities deep in the hearts of your members, giving them the courage to discuss spiritual matters with their coworkers, family, and friends? Imagine how your church and the community would change if your members had the communication tools and confidence to go forth into their neighborhoods, social circles, and families and purposefully share their faith in Christ.

Now, hold onto that vision while we dive into some practical ways to equip your people with the tools they’ll need.


1. Missional Point Person

Who in your congregation shows a passion for reaching the lost? A leader for missional ministry, whether paid or volunteer, will help the church significantly in its goal to equip the people. “You need someone with the passion and heart to run forward with this,” Dr. Comer said.

If you’re struggling here, you may want to start noting the skills or interests you observe among your members. Record and track this in your church management database. As you consider possible leaders, pray over those names and do some mulling. Insight may unfold.

When looking for leaders, look for humility. In fact, look for humility over natural ability. Robert Morrison of China is quoted in J. Oswald Sanders’ book Spiritual Leadership saying, “The great fault in our missions is that no one likes to be second.” (2007, p. 63) Who is willing to happily do the assistant job? The jobs that no one else wants to do? He or she could be your point person that God has been raising up.


2. Equip to Equip

You may need to equip your point person before he or she is ready to begin equipping others. Start a pilot group with your leader and others whom you feel would be a good fit. Get the group together and implement solid teaching content alongside group practice.

As for the content, get resources! For instance, Soul Whisperer could be used as a field manual to guide your new mission team into an adventure. Soul Whisperer does a great job of delivering ideas to cultivate conversation — then provides tools to develop the necessary skill set for navigating those spiritual discussions.

One particular skill that engaged me from Soul Whisperer is the “Gospel key.” Through listening and asking probing questions, the deep unmet need of the unbeliever begins to be discovered. Connecting this need to Christ’s promises (that is, the Gospel key) when the non-believer is ready to hear it is one way to enter into a spiritual conversation.


3. Capture the Stories

Using the technology and tools available to you, capture and share the missional stories of the church with your people. “Capturing the stories of our people doing the work, what happened in those journeys, the breakthroughs, the tensions, and the answered prayers—that becomes a whole other side of training and equipping,” Comer shared. The stories give new perspective, additional ideas, support, and encouragement. Plus, people need to see that God can use anybody for this important, eternal commission.

If you have a team that is not naturally in regular communication with each other, establish a regular schedule to communicate stories within the group. These stories can help build a sense of connectedness around your common goal and energize your team — and an energized team is going to have a greater impact on those around them. Sharing stories via a monthly email or through your website or social media channels are effective methods to get the word out. Be sure as you use social media that you are focusing on what God is doing through your people without causing a non-believer to feel they are on display or have been made your ministry.


4. Start Small, But Start

Perhaps you start with just two people. Jesus sent his disciples out in twos, right? (Mark 6) If you wanted a dozen people, but find yourself with two, have faith and start anyway. Take what resources you have, in this case the laborers, and do what you can. Acknowledge and rejoice in the impact you make. Changing lives is hard work. It’s holy work. And it’s worth every ounce of effort you could invest.


Closing the Gap

There is a process to learning how to speak into people’s lives. In our fast-paced world, a learning curve is not exciting. However, a boost of Christ-sharing confidence will be imbued upon your people as you pray for them and resource them to communicate like Christ. So, start small, identify a leader and team members, equip your people with resources, and capture the stories.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19



Gary Comer

About Gary Comer

Gary Comer describes his own journey by the three “S”s: secular, skeptic, and sinner. Growing up outside the church, his passion is helping churches bridge the gap between mission-heart and know-how. The author of Soul Whisperer and the Missional Engagement Series, Gary speaks, writes and trains as the founder of Soul Whisperer Ministries.

Connect further with Gary at soulwhispererministry.com

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