Evangelization experts say that if one desires his church to grow, one must keep the front gates wide open, create many side doors, and tightly shut the back exit. In this expression, the front gates are the weekend services welcoming the non-believers, the side doors are small groups contacting and hosting non-believers, and the back exit is an organization keeping the new believers within the church.
Dynamic small groups are always present in growing churches. And these small groups are usually intentionally focused on evangelization. A way to do this is to encourage relationship witnessing, meaning that small group members are invited to witness to people they already know. Research shows that a great majority of people who start attending church for the first time or who come back to church were invited by friends or family. This means that people are effectively introduced to Jesus Christ through friends and family.
Small group members invite non-believers to their houses and build loving relationships and invite them to the church at a proper time. Small groups are places that make people feel comfortable because they are not too formal. They are convenient for people who are evangelizing because they do not require special facilities and allow for faith studies (this can be easily done by presenting a video followed by a discussion). A church that desires to evangelize needs to develop this type of structure to accomplish its missional purpose.
By Pierre-Alain Giffard, Director of Pastoral Work