Where Have All the Evangelism Conferences Gone?

I was recently in California for a conference called “Organic Outreach.”

Kevin Harney is doing a great job, and I was glad to be small part as a speaker. Kevin has written a series of helpful books in this theme. He’s helping people to focus on evangelism again.

But, my article here is to point out that evangelism has fallen on hard times—and conferences have as well. Yes, some denominations still have them, but they seem to be shrinking in attendance and enthusiasm among many who do have such conferences.

That was not always so. A few decades ago, such conferences were booming. Stadiums were often full. Evangelism training in churches was well attendend. And more …

Now, I don’t think more evangelism conferences are always the answer, but the lack of many is a symptom of a larger problem.

Let me explain.

Evangelism Tools

Over the years, evangelism was generally defined by its tools. For example, the best known might be Evangelism Explosion and it’s famous question, “If you were to die today, do you know if you’d go to heaven or hell?”

Or, maybe the bridge illustration.

Or, the Roman Road.

Or, bracelets.

Yet, and there is the point, most people I know are more likely to roll their eyes at the tools, rather than use them. But, they don’t have an evangelistic alternative—all they have is an evangelistic angst. And angst does not help. The tools may seem outdated, unhelpful or cheesy to you, but the Roman Road is probably more effective than rolling your eyes.

And before you make assumptions, be sure to take a look at what Evangelism Explosion has done recently.

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Ed Stetzer
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.