Is your church an evangelizing church? NAMB

By Chuck Lawless

During this blog post series, I am trying to help you assess your church by providing ten questions to evaluate your church’s approach to each of the purposes of the church: worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, prayer, and fellowship. In addition, I ask about your church’s biblical foundation and Great Commission commitment. NOTE: I also added a part 2 (worship) for yesterday as well. Today’s questions focus on your church’s evangelism. Are staff and lay leaders expected to evangelize? Are they held accountable? If the church’s leaders don’t do evangelism, the church won’t evangelize, either. Accountability is one step toward putting evangelism in the DNA of the church. Is the growth of the church primarily conversion growth? Transfer growth? Biological growth? Evangelistic churches grow by reaching non-believers more than by “swapping sheep” or increasing their nursery attendance. Strong churches know these numbers, and they genuinely grieve when no one is saved through their ministry. Does the church regularly offer evangelism training? I am continually surprised by how few churches provide evangelism training. Simply telling members to evangelize without teaching them how to connect with non-believers, share their testimony, etc., seldom results in ongoing evangelism.

Evangelistic churches grow by reaching non-believers more than by “swapping sheep” or increasing their nursery attendance.

Are new members and new believers quickly trained and encouraged to share their story? The most potent witnesses for Christ are usually the newly saved who are filled with zeal and still connected with lost people. The longer a church waits to help them evangelize, the more likely it is they will get negatively cocooned in the church. Does the church offer small groups in which unchurched folks would feel comfortable participating? One current trend is toward small groups that are life-on-life, including times for familiar sharing and personal confession. I affirm this goal, but small groups limited to this approach are often uncomfortable for non-believers. Likewise, believers are less likely to invite their unchurched friends to a group with such a level of accountability. What is the church’s ratio of new believers to longer-term believers? If new believers are hard to find, the congregation may not be strongly evangelistic. When they are present, though, they bring new energy to a congregation. When was the last time you heard a conversion testimony at your church? In many churches, believers worship with one another every Sunday without knowing the grace stories of people around them. Churches that emphasize evangelism also emphasize telling their stories personally and publicly.

Evangelistic churches pray (often by name) for believers to proclaim and non-believers to believe.

Does your church intentionally pray about evangelism? Paul said his prayer for Israel was that they be saved (Rom. 10:1). At the same time, he asked others to pray he would speak the gospel clearly and boldly as God opened doors (Eph. 6:18-20; Col. 4:2-4). Evangelistic churches pray (often by name) for believers to proclaim and non-believers to believe. Does the church really celebrate the new birth of believers? Baptism that illustrates conversion ought to be a time of joy, even while illustrating the seriousness of a commitment to Christ. Learn to throw parties — literally — to rejoice together while glorifying God. Testimonies from both the new believer and the believer who shared the gospel with the convert only strengthen the celebration. Does the church capitalize on its web presence to share the gospel? The Internet allows us to touch the world with the gospel, but I seldom find a church website that grabs the attention of seeking non-believers and clearly directs them to the plan of salvation. Suppose you were to score each question on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being “I’m very displeased with where my church is” and 10 being “I’m very pleased with where my church is”), what would your score be? What other questions would you add to this list?

Published November 12, 2015

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Chuck Lawless

Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with “Church Answers” to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.