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How to Pastor an Evangelistic Church

I’ve heard the story of a man who was criticized for his evangelism methodology by a fellow believer. He was told that his methods weren’t personal enough, too mechanistic and they would never work.

The man, saddened by the criticism, thought for a few moments about the challenge leveled in his direction. With great care and genuine concern in his voice he responded, “I much prefer my method of doing evangelism to your way of not doing it.”

Now that’s an evangelism mic drop moment.

I’ve seen that credited to D.L. Moody and James Kennedy, but regardless of who said it the story reminds us of our situation today.

The Need

In a culture that is quickly changing—one that has openly embraced secularism and spirituality without any sort of biblical foundation—evangelism is shockingly and sadly unengaged by many Christians. The people around us are increasingly secular, and our evangelistic efforts are on a downward trend.

That means we have a big problem, friends.

At LifeWay Research, we have analyzed the evangelistic behavior of Christians almost ad nauseum. One of the things I’ve learned through the process is that all Christians love evangelism, as long as someone else is doing it.

We talk about it, regard it highly and call many people to engage in evangelism, all the while avoiding it personally like we avoid the dentist. It is a recurring theme in our studies. People openly bemoan the lack of evangelism in others’ lives while ignoring it in their own.

In fact, according to our research, most Christians have never shared their faith and called others to trust Christ.

Ever.

Not even once.

Using a research project and assessment tool we created at LifeWay, we conducted a study that included aspects related to evangelism. It showed most people had not invited anyone to church recently, and even fewer had shared Christ.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books.