For years, I’ve studied evangelistic churches. Based on those studies, here are some simple questions to evaluate your church’s evangelistic health:
- 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.
- 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.
- Do you know how many people are saved (as much as you can tell) through your church’s ministry? Strong churches know these numbers, and they genuinely grieve when no one is saved through their efforts.
- Does the church regularly offer 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. You must provide the training.
- Are new members and new believers quickly trained and encouraged to share their story? The longer a church waits to help new believers 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? To answer this question, you have to talk to recent unchurched guests. Don’t assume that your church members are the best persons to determine if their groups welcome non-believers.
- 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 was the last time you heard a conversion testimony at your church? Churches that emphasize evangelism also emphasize telling their stories personally and publicly.
- Does your church intentionally pray about evangelism? Paul said his prayer for Israel was that they be saved (Rom. 10:1). 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 celebrate.
- 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.
- Does the senior pastor lead the way? No matter what title you use for this leader, the primary preacher must set the example for the church. I’ve never seen an evangelistic church without an evangelistic leader. Ever.
So, is your church an evangelistic church?