Praise and Proclaim Update

Dave Malnes (Meridian, Idaho, USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Dave Malnes is the president of Praise and Proclaim Ministries, a WELS-affiliated parasynodical gospel ministry based in Idaho. He has served for over twenty years as a certified WELS staff minister in evangelism and outreach. Praise and Proclaim partners with WELS and ELS congregations to provide comprehensive evangelism training. Since 2016, Dave has trained over 1,000 members in fifty-three congregations and twenty-one states. Outreach initiatives are designed to increase lay participation in personal evangelism and prospect follow-up activities.

PERSONAL EVANGELISM TRAINING in a COVID-19 WORLD

During the global pandemic, climate change, strained race relations, and a contentious presidential election, people are struggling for hope, security, and peace. Opportunities are abounding for Christians to spread the Good News to listening ears.

Even though it is an exciting time in our history to be God's messenger, congregations must be willing to adapt their outreach strategies. We cannot assume that life will return to normal. Adaptation and modifications are required while still upholding church doctrine, core values, and foundational principles.

The biggest adjustment for gospel ministries will be a greater emphasis on personal evangelism. With change rapidly accelerating, Praise and Proclaim has needed to adapt its personal evangelism training. This had become an opportunity not just to be resilient but to be better in preparing and equipping our members to bring the gospel message to their community.

Evolving to a new paradigm

Praise and Proclaim has adapted its outreach initiatives to help our members engage people, extend invitations to hear God's Word, and comfortably transition to proclaiming the gospel during these remarkable times.

To help prepare our congregations for a new paradigm to spread the Word, it is imperative that our outreach initiatives must:

    • Train members to comfortably give reasons for the hope they have in Christ to anybody the Lord places in their life.
    • Increase lay participation in follow-up activities with prospects.
    • Enhance a congregation's on-line presence by incorporating digital evangelism training.
    • Combine on-site training with supplemental on-line instruction.
    • Establish a long-term relationship by providing ongoing support, training, and organizational assistance.

With thanksgiving to God for providing guidance and resources, Praise and Proclaim is actively striving to be better in preparing our members to verbally proclaim the gospel.

Beginning this fall, congregations will be receiving these modifications and advances in our evangelism training on three different levels: on-site, experiential, and on-line.

On-Site Training

a) Preparing Christians to witness in every-day situations

Problem: Church members are receiving opportunities right now to proclaim the gospel, but they feel ill-equipped and ill-prepared.

The emphasis of Praise and Proclaims' on-site training has adjusted to preparing congregational members to proclaim the gospel in every-day situations. They will learn how to use our evangelism methodology with their friends, neighbors, and family members. Instead of relying on preparing members to go canvassing the following day, participants will engage in a meaningful training exercise called "speed witnessing."

b) Digital evangelism

Challenge: How can congregations take full advantage of digital visitors on their website?

Churches are joyfully discovering a broader online audience who are viewing taped messages or watching a livestream of a worship service. To take full advantage of this new paradigm, we will conduct a digital evangelism campaign. Pastors will produce short video messages on the church home page and members will learn how to virtually engage their community.

Experiential Training

Providing a meaningful experience for members to immediately put their training into action is still a fundamental part of Praise and Proclaims' comprehensive evangelism training. It will be important for members to feel safe while still engaging people in their community.

Challenge: Personal evangelism is scary. Since most members have had minimal experience verbally proclaiming the gospel, training must include meaningful experiences for members to apply methodologies in real-life settings. Praise and Proclaim has adapted this important training component by including:

a) Grocery Canvassing

This is a safe and proven gospel activity. It is a great way for congregations to start meeting people in their community by providing for families in need. It is an opportunity to introduce their church and make a difference through a meaningful activity. It also can be a wonderful opportunity for members to give reasons for the hope they have in Christ.

b) Follow-up connections

Praise and Proclaim will lead members to comfortably engage people on the church prospect list. This will include learning how to gather prospects on-line and use email platforms to connect with on-line visitors who express interest to receive resources or learn more about the congregation.

On-line training and support

Challenge: Congregations have expressed a desire to receive further training and support to further momentum generated from the outreach initiatives.

Thanks to a grant from the Antioch Foundation, Praise and Proclaim will now be providing:

Pre-initiative training: On-line evangelism Bible study and introductory webinar.

Post-initiative offerings: Access to a series of on-line courses that reviews on-site training, plus additional courses to help further training. This includes instructional webinars, on-line community interaction, and access to future Bible studies.

Hybrid initiatives: Every three months, Praise and Proclaim will provide off-site organizational assistance and training through hybrid outreach initiatives. A menu of options will be made available to provide participants with additional evangelism experience.

A COVID-19 Challenge

Praise and Proclaim does not necessarily train people to know what to say but equip them to say something when God provides an opportunity to proclaim the gospel.

What about you?

There are people today who need hear about what Jesus has already done for us. They are willing to hear the reasons for the hope that you have in Christ because you have become a trusted source within your personal network.

Be confident that Jesus is right. The harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few. The Lord has set you apart and given you the desire to be his messengers at this point in our history. Perhaps you have recently considered the following questions?

How can I begin a spiritual conversation in today's world?

A person needs to gain an audience before receiving an audience. A good way to begin a spiritual conversation is by asking a good question. Here is one question that is sparking interest. >>Read more

Why is communicating the value of Christ important?

When placed in awkward situations, a natural tendency is to use common Christian clich├ęs rather than proclaiming the Truth. What are the eternal and temporal benefits of the Christian faith? >>Read more

How can I gain an audience to hear God's Word?

Credibility gains an audience. Establishing a niche of clear and consistent teaching of God's Word is important in a post-Christian society and a core for ongoing evangelism. >>Read more.

May I offer you a COVID-19 challenge?

Praise and Proclaim recently released an online interactive Bible study designed for Christians who have limited experience with personal evangelism. The study confronts obstacles, fears, and even myths associated with proclaiming the gospel.

Here are the four lessons in the study:

Lesson 1: Preparing to Proclaim
Lesson 2: Trusting God's Promises
Lesson 3: What Do I Say?
Lesson 4: Defining Success

In conjunction with GOWM 2020, I would like to provide you with this link to set up a log-in to access the study.

This tool is currently being used by congregations who are planning to host an outreach initiative or have already received training from Praise and Proclaim.

What a great day to be a Christian!

What a time in history to spread the Word!

May the Lord bless your desire to be his witnesses.

Links:

Email Dave Malnes
Praise and Proclaim Ministries
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Discussion

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Tom Kuster (Christ in Media Institute) 2020-10-23 4:08:45am
Dave, you are doing good important work. The Christ in Media Institute, while its mission is to explore how technology can be used in Gospel outreach, has always proclaimed that the best evangelism is person-to-person, one Christian talking to someone who does not know Christ, and that is at the core of your work. However, I wonder if technology has a role in what you are teaching people to do. Do you have a means of keeping track of who has been contacted, which should be followed up, so nobody falls through cracks? Is there any interest in using phone-to-phone media transfer methods in order to leave materials with people who are interested (see https://2016.gowm.org/sessions/kustert/)? How are you teaching congregations to make better use of technology in their outreach efforts?
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David Malnes (Praise and Proclaim) 2020-10-28 2:08:43pm
Thank you for your comment, Tom.

Technology has quickly emerged as an important tool to spread the Word. Even before COVID-19 arrived, the unchurched were staying away from church. And now, they don't feel safe in coming. This means bringing the church to the unchurched -- both personally and digitally. Its important you have two audiences -- that are exceptionally diverse. There are the baby-boomers who still rely heavily on face-to-face communication and the under-35 crowd who are more comfortable with digital introductions. Praise and Proclaim is introducing digital evangelism as an important component of our training. In fact, it's imperative to include a follow-up mechanism (landing page, contact forms, and email follow-up system in place). We assist in all three. Phone-to-phone works with the over-65 crowd. But, we are discovering the value of texts as a preferred method to connect with people. The world has drastically changed in the past 4-5 years -- and even moreso with the arrival of a worldwide pandemic. Churches are required to make significant adjustments in how they communicate with their community because the landscape has changed so much.