7 Findings About Leading Evangelistic Churches

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 strong evangelism. 
  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. 

What other conclusions about evangelistic churches would you add?

1 Comment

  • Robin Jumper says:

    Dr. Lawless, you are correct with all of these. Study of the Word and my years of experience help me to agree and endorse all seven of these findings. Let’s continue to teach and mentor others in leading churches to evangelize. Much work to do!

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