Most churches in North America are not evangelistic. My role as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, though, allows me to learn about churches that are breaking this trend. Here are some characteristics of these churches:
- They’re led by pastors who are themselves evangelistic. I’ve written before that I’ve never seen an evangelistic church not led by an evangelistic pastor. The passion of the leader grabs the attention of the congregation he leads. If you want to know why the pastor’s commitment to evangelism matters, see this post.
- They believe and teach the exclusivity of the gospel (that is, Jesus is the only way, and no one can be saved apart from a personal relationship with Him). This truth compels them to teach the Good News through all they do.
- They emphasize the significance of baptism. It’s not just a “tack on” at the end of a service; it’s a central part of the church’s worship and celebration. They genuinely rejoice when people illustrate their faith by baptism. Check out this post to hear some of my memories about baptism that drive me to evangelize more.
- They challenge new believers immediately to share their story with others. They know that believers are more likely to do evangelism when (a) they’re first saved, and (b) they’re still connected to non-believers. So, they don’t wait long to challenge new believers to evangelize.
- They offer evangelistic training. Their goal is that evangelism becomes the DNA of their congregation, but they provide regular (at least annual) evangelism training to move in that direction.
- They use testimonies strategically. Some ask new believers to share their testimony via video just prior to their baptism. Others regularly include a testimony in the Sunday morning service to remind people of the transforming power of the gospel. These testimonies then encourage church members to evangelize more.
- They build small groups that are missionally-oriented. It’s not easy to do, but they push hard against small groups becoming inwardly focused. They select small group leaders who will lead their groups to minister to the community, trusting that God will save someone through their efforts.
- They pay attention to their numbers—particularly of conversions. They never want to become idolatrous of numbers, but nor do they want to neglect them. Statistics are one means by which they hold themselves accountable to evangelism.
How does your church compare to this list?