Interest in evangelism is exploding in American churches. Virtually every denomination, from every tradition and theological persuasion, is putting renewed emphasis—with, it appears, genuine enthusiasm—on evangelism. “Mainline” churches, many of which did little evangelism in the sixties and seventies, are making big plans for the future. Conservative churches, such as those of the Southern Baptist Convention, are strengthening programs they never abandoned and growing at a pace almost unheard of 20 years ago. The emphasis is coming from the bottom up, in a wave of concern that makes itself felt in leadership circles. “You can even talk about evangelism in polite circles of society,” jokes Grady Allison, program director for evangelism for the Presbyterian Church (USA), which will launch a five-year evangelism plan at its general assembly later this year. “It’s an altogether different scene.”

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