I’ve studied North American churches for years, and few churches do well at emphasizing evangelism. Here are some general conclusions I’ve reached about evangelistic churches:
1. The pastor must take the lead in evangelism. In close to thirty years of studies, I
have never found a strongly evangelistic church led by a pastor who is unconcerned
about evangelism. Rather, pastors whose hearts beat for evangelism produce
congregations that share his passion.
2. Evangelism does not just happen. Evangelistic churches recognize that some
believers lose that passion, and many get increasingly separated from non-believers
the longer they are in church. They know that a church without a plan to evangelize will
be a church that does not evangelize, and they plan not to be that kind of congregation.
3. Churches that evangelize offer evangelistic training—and work hard to recruit
members to participate. I’ve known too many churches who called members to
evangelize but offered no training. I’ve known others who offered training but assumed
members would respond to only a bulletin or pulpit announcement. Neither results in
4. Evangelistic strategies include both intentionality and accountability among
leaders. Intentionality is not a surprise, as noted in #2 above. Accountability, though, is
often a challenge for most pastors and leaders—especially if it means admitting a lack
of evangelism. Church leaders who are most committed to evangelism are willing to
take these risks.
5. Evangelism is dependent on a strong belief in the Word. There is no other way to
state this finding: pastors and church leaders who question whether Jesus is the only
way to God, or whether a personal relationship with Christ is necessary for salvation,
do not focus on evangelism. They may do “outreach” to increase numbers, but it’s not
usually gospel-centered evangelism.
6. Churches that evangelize are unafraid to count numbers. There is little question
that churches can idolize numbers. On the other hand, churches that evangelize are
willing to ask questions based on numbers. If the numbers show they are reaching few
non-believers, they ask “why” without compromising the gospel message.
7. Evangelistic congregations live and serve among their community. Their church
building is not a retreat from their world; it is a place where they are challenged to take
the gospel to their world. They actually know lost people, minister to local needs, and
make a difference in their community.
Reprinted by permission. For more information, go to http://chucklawless.com