Most evangelical churches are accustomed to holding picnics with everyone for fellowship. This is what we used to do at the “Buna Vestire” Church all the years so far, but this year we decided to do something special – an evangelistic picnic. We thought of this because we noticed that many friends and acquaintances of church members prefer to come to the picnic. After the first attempt, we were encouraged to do evangelism more often in this way, and I found it helpful to publish this article, which I and other church or missionary officials can return to, and anyone else who wants to have an evangelistic picnic. Here is what I found to be good and necessary for every servant to know who wishes to conduct such an evangelistic event.
Motivate Christians in the church to come and invite friends and relatives.
It is necessary that from one month before, at every church service, the members of the church be reminded about the organization of the picnic and that its purpose is to evangelize.
Prepare the program well
The program and all its details will have to be well thought out at the church committee meeting. Think about what songs should be sung, what the message should be about, who should testify, what should be included in the study, and any other aspects you consider important. Also at this meeting, all the responsibilities will have to be well shared and a person will be delegated who will coordinate the preparations and the development of the picnic.
Prepare sports games
It will be best to start with them and as people approach all those who want to participate can join, and have 3-4 options, say volleyball, football, frisbee, etc.
Organize Bible games
This can be a contest with questions and for each concrete answer to be given a gift. The person who will prepare the questions will be careful to choose such questions as to present the central truths of the gospel, especially the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I even made a file on my computer and when I study the Bible I complete it with questions I come up with to have in the future at such events.
Joint worship program
As soon as people eat, it will be the best time to start the worship program, because all the people are still gathered together and ready to listen. The program will begin with 3-5 common songs of praise and worship followed by 3-4 testimonies lasting 5-7 minutes. When choosing the people who will say the testimonies, think about being in the same age group as the participants, so that everyone can identify with one of the people who will testify about their return to Christ. Testimonies should be given by both men and women. Then follow again with one or two songs, after which the pastor or one of the preachers has a short evangelistic message of 10-15 minutes. I preached about the rich young man and the fact that he missed the chance to be saved, and then I introduced Zacchaeus who took advantage of the opportunity and became a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Next time, however, I will prefer to have only a portion in the message and prepare a Bible study of evangelism to be studied in small groups. So after this message, people will be invited to…
Discussions in small groups
Leaders need to be trained in advance, to know what to discuss and how to conduct discussions. Groups of 5-8 people will be formed and in those groups the participants will get to know each other and then do a short Bible study that will already be printed on sheets and will be offered to each one so that they can follow and participate. This study will conclude with discussion questions to help people understand and accept the gospel of Christ. At the last picnic I had the following questions:
- What stops people from becoming disciples of Jesus Christ and following His teaching?
- Why do some people choose to be disciples of Christ, but they do not get baptized or postpone baptism for an excessively long time?
- What must be the spiritual discipline of a true Christian who has made the decision to follow Christ?
During the group discussion, it is important for the leader to pay attention to each person and to make a personal invitation to each to become a disciple of Christ. The leader who will lead the discussion will invite people to church Bible study groups and other upcoming events. It is very good that the leaders of the Bible study groups in the church are also the leaders who will lead these small groups at the picnic. At the end of the discussions in the small groups, the leaders pray with all the people and lead them in prayer and those who will want to receive Jesus into their hearts and become Christians. At the last picnic I also led a small discussion group and I was glad that two young people wanted to pray and become disciples of Christ. Give people the opportunity to ask and answer questions.
Use this opportunity
I noticed that more people gather at the picnic than if you were organizing an evangelism event in the church. The last time we did it in rainy and gloomy weather, but even so over 100 people came and the goal was achieved. Organize evangelistic picnics. May God help you.
Translated by Olya Trikolich