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Pastors have a significant impact on the evangelistic temperature of their church.

This article originally appeared in Outreach Magazine.

You can’t lead what you don’t live.

As pastors and leaders, a good part of what we teach others should come straight from Scripture. We look to biblical models and mandates to be the launching point to teach those in our churches how to live well as followers of Jesus.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough. If our lives don’t reflect what we teach and the calls to action we offer, then our ability to lead well is severed from the start. Really, it’s a variation of the old adage we teach our children: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Do as I do and as I say.

In outreach, the same principle applies. We can tell our people to show and share the love of Jesus until the cows come home, pointing to the life of Jesus and others around us as examples, but until we live it, we are but clanging cymbals.

I like to tell the truth, and truth be told, one of the key components to getting our congregations on fire for outreach and evangelism is modeling personal outreach. As a pastor, I’ve always tried to do this. You also may have heard the example of Bill Hybel’s sailboat. The reason he mentions his sailboat quite a bit is because it is a place where he’s done a lot of his evangelism.

Now I don’t have a sailboat, and likely you don’t either, but what we all need is a similar example to share. What is your sailboat—the place where you are having the critical conversations with non-Christians?

For me, it’s my neighborhood. At the last church I served at in Tennessee, I had the opportunity to map out my neighbors on paper in order to share the gospel with them one by one. Over the course of three years, I shared the …

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