Consider for a moment the early church: “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). How does your church compare?
While many churches would not meet the standard of “daily,” could your church at least insert the word monthly, regularly, or even annually into that description? If not, it’s time for deeper reflection.
Compare a local church with an apple tree. A healthy apple tree produces new apples on a regular basis. If not, there is a problem with the tree. In the same way, if a church is not producing new believers, there is a problem.
It might be tempting for a church to solve the problem by occasionally telling its members they need to share the gospel more often. Lack of evangelism, though, may be a symptom of deeper issues.
Ask yourself 3 diagnostic questions about your congregation:
1. Is your main evangelism strategy to get people to come to your church?
If so, that’s a major red flag. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with wanting people to attend services on Sunday, but your church is also called to equip members to BE the church Monday through Saturday. We can’t expect unbelievers just to walk in the door. We must meet them right where they are—in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and anywhere and everywhere we go.
2. Have you delegated evangelism to a department or to a few outgoing individuals?
If the answer is “Yes” to either, then that is another red flag. Don’t delegate evangelism. A healthy and growing church requires every member and every department to participate. Implement a plan in your children’s ministry to reach families who don’t know the Lord. Train your community groups to share the gospel. Equip college students with resources to defend their faith. While an evangelism leader or department can help other departments come up with new ways to reach non-Christians, it by no means should bear the total responsibility.
3. When you think of your congregation, do you think diversity or uniformity?
The composition of the early church represented the diversity of those they reached. Does the makeup of your church match your community or city? If not, why not? Have you limited your outreach potential by only associating with people who look and believe like you?
The road to healthy church growth is not a new gimmick or strategy. It’s reaching people where they are, regardless of who they are! What worked in the first century still works in the 21st.
(Note: This article originally appeared in EvanTell's 2017 Summer issue of Toolbox. View our Toolbox archives!)