LifeWay President Thom Rainer Reflects on a Loss of Evangelistic Fervor In Today’s Churches and How Pastors Can Change That

Thom Rainer
Thom Rainer

Each year it seems local churches are devoting less time, less funding and less emphasis to equipping, encouraging and sending people to share the good news of Christ, particularly within their immediate communities. I believe the lack of evangelism within the local church is reaching a crisis stage.

Entire regions within North America are largely unchurched. Even in areas saturated with churches, scores of people have yet to hear the Gospel. Now more than ever, we have a pressing need for more evangelistic churches. The sad irony is that our evangelistic efforts are diminishing while a significant number of non-believers are more receptive to hearing about Jesus from a Christian.

Church leaders have a responsibility to honestly assess their current evangelism effectiveness. Does the church have intentional ministries focused on spreading the good news of Jesus Christ? What training programs are in place to ensure members are equipped to confidently share their faith? And perhaps most importantly, what is the leader doing to be more evangelistic and to demonstrate a commitment to personal evangelism?

The number one commonality I see in evangelistic churches is a pastor who leads by example. Here are various ways pastors can lead their churches to be more evangelistic:

— Begin with prayer. Ask God to send out workers into His harvest. Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel.

— Build relationships with non-believers. Be intentional about developing friendships with people who don’t know Christ. And then allow the Gospel to overflow from your life into your conversations. Have a meal with a non-believer. Tony Merida, pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., as an example, encourages his church members to follow his lead by inviting non-believers to have a meal with them on a regular basis.

— Become accountable to someone else for sharing the Gospel. That person could be a family member, another church member or another pastor.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Thom Rainer

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