This blog entry is by guest blogger Steve Ogne, church planter coach and consultant with CRM. Steve and I worked together for a decade and collaborated on several projects together, including The Church Planter’s Toolkit. Steve’s most recent publication is TransforMissional Coaching: Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry World.

Most churches have some statement of purpose that includes things like worship, teaching, fellowship, and evangelism. The wording varies, but that’s the general gist of most church statements of purpose. Yet I’ve found one thing to be universally true:  the purpose that has to do with evangelism is always at the end of the line.

One problem with this situation is that we never get to the end of the line because we’re busy with the first purposes. The second problem is that this order is the exact opposite of how Jesus framed our purpose in the great commission. Look at the verbs. He said:

  1. Go (evangelism)
  2. Make (conversion)
  3. Baptize
  4. Teach

Yet in most of our churches, we start with teaching. The implicit belief is that if we teach long enough, someone will want to get baptized. That’s like pouring water uphill. If we start with “teach” and hope someone gets to “go,” it rarely happens. Yet if we start with evangelism, the rest of activities flow naturally from there.

Here’s an activity to try out with your leaders. Write the four verbs from the great commission on four different 3×5 cards. Give them to your leaders and ask them to put them in the proper sequence. Most of them will sequence them according to the way your church sequences them. Then look at scripture together and have them re-sequence them.