In almost 25 years of studying churches in North America, never have I yet found an evangelistic church that was not led by a strongly evangelistic pastor. Here are some general characteristics I’ve seen in these pastors:
- They make themselves do evangelism. Some are naturally gifted evangelists, but many are not. They just know they need to do evangelism, and they need to lead the way – so they intentionally choose to do what sometimes makes them uncomfortable.
- They believe in the exclusivity of the gospel and truth of eternal judgment. Believing that a personal relationship with Jesus is necessary for salvation—and for escaping eternal judgment—they tell others about Him.
- They hold themselves accountable to someone. They’re unafraid to keep somebody else informed about their evangelistic endeavors. They want the accountability, and they want to model evangelistic faithfulness for others.
- If they have staff, they hold them accountable to doing evangelism as well. That is, they work to build evangelism into the DNA of their church. They know the importance of leaders modeling the work of evangelism.
- They don’t lock themselves up in their office. Instead, they get involved in the community. They join local organizations. They work out in local gyms. They coach little league in the area. They go where lost people are.
- They pray for non-believers by name. Their primary prayer request may be that they themselves would speak the gospel boldly (Eph 6:18-20), but they regularly ask God to open blinded minds of family and friends.
- They often have a global heart that translates into local evangelism. The Great Commission is clearly both international and domestic for them. The evangelism they do in one context fuels their fire for the other context.
- They use the pulpit for evangelism, but they don’t stop there. Seldom do they preach the Word without calling people to repentance and faith. At the same time, though, they don’t allow their pulpit evangelism to replace doing personal, one-on-one work.
- They tend to define “evangelism” narrowly (and properly, in my opinion). That is, it is never less than verbalizing the good news of Jesus to a non-believer. Other good deeds may lead to sharing the gospel, but evangelism itself necessitates telling the good news.
- They grieve when they don’t see lost persons get saved. They so long for people to know Jesus that they weep when they see non-believers fight against the gospel.
- They tend to be disciplined in Bible study and prayer. In fact, it’s their time with God that propels them into evangelizing.
- They humbly speak of their evangelistic attempts. They don’t broadcast them, but nor do they miss an opportunity to illustrate for others that they’re doing evangelism. It’s tough to be a model if no one ever hears what you’re doing.
What other characteristics have you seen?