Sunday, August 7, 2011


Georgia's TOP EVANGELISTIC CHURCHES was the name of a pamphlet recently sent to me by a friend. Honestly, it's not the kind of pamphlet I typically keep around. Before throwing it out, however, I decided to give it a scan. 

What lessons can be gleaned from these churches? While 10 are listed, let me cite the top 5. Incidentally, when measured by the number of baptisms, these churches are truly evangelistic. Regardless of whether they are categorized as small, medium or large (over 500), the vast majority of the churches had a better than 1:10 attendance to baptism ratio--and that's really good.

#1 - Evangelistic churches are intentional in their approach.
#2 - The pastor's influence is elevated in evangelistic churches.
#3 - Evangelistic churches purposefully engage the congregation in personal evangelism.
#4 - Evangelistic churches pray for the lost and unchurched by name.
#5 - Evangelistic churches connect their ministries to evangelistic opportunities.

Any surprises here. I don't think so. There are no new programs, secret methods, or great gimmicks. It's all about intentionality, leadership, training, dependency on God and using every opportunity to present the claims of Christ.

It's pretty basic stuff, isn't it?  It makes me ask the question: Why isn't every church evangelistic? I suppose there are a number of reasons. But, I wonder if in the end it doesn't come down to something real basic--passion. How much passion do we have for the gospel? Is our heart burning with the compelling love of Jesus that motivates us to do whatever we can to make him known to people? Where there is passion there is a way.

Instead of decrying the lack of passion in the churches I see and know, I think I'll take some time to examine my own heart.  How much do I pray for my neighbors?  When is the last time I shared the gospel with someone face to face? How much does my heart burn within me? 

Lord, I'm ready and willing. Lead me, sensitize me, and give me the words to say to someone in whose heart you have already been at work.