I just finished reading an article in the Layman titled “Presbyterian Evangelism? Maybe $50 bills in every bulletin would work.” The article can be summed up by Emily Williams who is a young adult advisory delegate. She said “we’re not suppose to preach outside the church. Our resources are better spent on deeds not words. If we’re worried about filling pews, just put a $50 bill en every bulletin.” The full article can be read here.
I’m not downing Emily. I don’t personally know her but the feelings she expressed are echoed by Christians in every major denomination, who are all seeing declines in their membership. I don’t want to make the article about membership. We have a tendency to get caught up in membership and growth instead of disciples and relationships. Jesus did not call us to grow large churches but he did call us to go into all the world and make disciples. It is hard to accomplish that goal if we’re not presenting the Gospel and inviting people to church.
Here are some interesting statistics from back to church:
- “Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.” –Dr. Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
- “Only two percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Ninety-eighty percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.” –Dr Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
- “A study including more than 15,000 adults revealed that about two-thirds are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member and 56 percent from a friend or neighbor. The message is clear that the unchurched are open to conversations about church.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
- “Four percent of formerly churched adults are actively looking for a church to attend regularly (other than their previous church). Six percent would prefer to resume attending regularly in the same church they had attended. The largest group, 62 percent, is not actively looking but is open to the idea of attending church regularly again.”–Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
- “Clearly we can encourage Christians to pray that the unchurched would sense God calling them back, but God works through His people.” “The survey showed that many would respond to an invitation from a friend or acquaintance (41 percent), their children (25 percent) or an adult family member (25 percent).” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
- “The issue of affinity also surfaced in the responses. Thirty–five percent indicated that they would be inspired to attend church ‘if I knew there were people like me there.’” –Scott McConnell, LifeWay Research
- “Much to the surprise of the ‘Chicken Little’ crowd, people are still going to church. And more people would attend if given one simple thing—an invitation.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
Clearly people in America are still open to attending church and there are more evangelism resources available than ever before. Here are a few you should check out:
- Back to church Sunday September 18th is the largest organized outreach event. Could your church get involved?
- Outreach.com. They have everything a church could ever want to reach out to the community: direct mail postcards to existing and people who have recently moved to the area, banners, signs, door hangers. The list goes on and their pricing is very reasonable. Could your church order a few door hangers and pass them out in the neighborhood? They have a newsletter that gives all kids of ideas for your church to reach their community. Could you sign up for it? (at the bottom of their home page). If you are on Facebook, like their page and visit it on a regular basis.
- Evangelism Coach offers personal and church resources to help share your faith.
- Church Marketing Sucks – One of my favorite names because it is so true at least in America. They have marketing articles, ebooks, podcasts all designed to help churches do a better job of making disciples.
- Memory Cross – Provides effective Gospel tracts for children and adults. Tracts that people actually are thankful to receive, will keep and read. Our message really is GOOD NEWS! Why not share it in a engaging way? You can order a free sample pack by clicking here. Enter the code “new” and receive the shipping free also. No obligation, simply the best way to share the Gospel using print.
There so many ways to help your friends move into a relationship with Jesus. If you are on Facebook, what’s wrong with sharing a Scripture that means something to you once a week or posting what your church is doing or sending a personal message inviting them to church? As the video shows one small act can have life a life changing impact.
Christians have never had so many resources available to share their faith, yet in America evangelism and outreach is on the decline. Why?
I’ve thought about that for years and here is the unfortunate reality, in my opinion. We are SO busy we don’t allow the Holy Spirit time to transform our lives. We are like the seed that fell among the thorns in Matthew 13. We hear the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
In Revelation 3:16 Jesus says: “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
In America to many Christians have become lukewarm. We attend church but don’t allow the power of God to overwhelm out lives. We don’t experience God’s amazing love in our lives. We don’t experience joy, peace, patience, kindness.
Jesus wants passionate followers. If your life has been transformed from one of sin and self centeredness, of one of anger and frustration, or no hope into a relationship with Jesus where you experience his love and power, then you’ll want to tell other people. God’s relationship becomes one of not good news but Great News and something you can’t help but sharing with others.
As your life changes it will have an effect on the people around you. Your friends and family will see a difference. You should have excitement in your life. Paul, who was one of the early apostles was beat, whipped and thrown in jail for talking about Jesus, yet in jail he sang songs of praise to his God.
That is the kind of life God wants you to experience. If you want to know more check out Frances Chan’s book, Crazy Love.