One of the reasons I like working for Thom Rainer is his passion for evangelism. This article is remarkably helpful on that topic.
While the creation of an evangelistic culture cannot be reduced to a simple formulaic approach, I can offer four suggestions of a more practical nature.
Church Culture Shift #1: Leadership Must Model a Passion for Evangelism. The first church I served as pastor had not seen one person become a Christian in 26 years. Rather than complain to the congregation about their evangelistic ineptness, I began praying for opportunities for me to be a gospel witness in the community. I was amazed how many doors God opened. I was amazed to see how many people responded positively to the gospel. And I was amazed to see how others began to follow my leadership example. Within one year the church that had seen no baptisms in 26 years had, ironically, 26 baptisms in one year.
Church Culture Shift #2: Ask one Sunday school class or small group to become an evangelistic group for one year. This approach creates a system of accountability on a small scale. That one small group understands that it has been selected to be an example for the rest of the church. Watch what will happen within that one group. Watch how the group members become more intentionally evangelistic. Watch how they will become more prayerfully creative and excited to reach people with the gospel.
Church Culture Shift #3: Begin a small-scale evangelistic mentoring approach. Again, asking a person to mentor another person engenders accountability. In my first church, I mentored a new Christian named Steve. I taught him how to begin a conversation about Jesus. We worked together on the essential elements of a gospel presentation. At first we went together to talk with those who weren't Christians. Steve eventually became more comfortable sharing Christ on his own, and he soon began mentoring someone as I had mentored him.
Church Culture Shift #4: Make certain corporate prayers include praying for the lost. Most church members are not hesitant to pray for the physical needs of people. But rare is the church that prays together for those who are not Christians. A few churches, though, pray for lost people by name. Others are more comfortable praying in general for the non-Christians in the community. As the church begins to pray for the lostness of her community, God often begins to demonstrate clear answers to those prayers. And the culture of the church becomes decidedly more evangelistic in its culture as the prayers are infused with a burden for those who are not followers of Jesus Christ.
If you know anything about recent evangelical history, you will know the name John Wimber and the course he taught at Fuller Seminary. This is a fascinating archive of his teaching.
Signs and Wonders - Westernized Churches -- John Wimber
If you did not follow the Komen / Planned Parenthood fiasco, you were probably under a rock. The media got nasty (GetReligion wrote several features on the bad coverage). Planned Parenthood's bullying was shocking-- and now and insider tells the story.
When you arrived, Komen was being criticized by pro-life groups and voices on the Right for being pro-abortion and supporting Planned Parenthood. Do you think pro-life groups acted well in this controversy, before Komen changed its funding?
The Left is trying to make it out that the bullies against Komen are on the other side, but there's a major difference in tactics. Here's the difference that I see with the pro-life organizations and even the Catholic Church. They never made an orchestrated media campaign, an orchestrated effort to really destroy Komen. That's what Planned Parenthood was out to do. From the pro-life side, people were being informed about what Komen's branding model looked like and who they were giving money to, and then individuals were making their decisions. It wasn't an orchestrated effort to destroy the organization. Planned Parenthood and the Left really did just unleash an unprecedentedly vicious attack on Komen, all over $680,000 that is nothing in the grand scheme of Planned Parenthood's $1 billion budget.
What was the thinking behind the decision to pull what you call the "crappy grants" from Planned Parenthood?
The issue has been around at Komen for at least a decade. It would flare and die down, flare and die down. The decision ultimately had to do with Komen's granting strategy. Komen wanted to have the biggest impact for its donor dollars possible, and that meant restructuring how Komen was going to do education programs so that more funding would go toward what we consider national "best practices." Secondly, the foundation wanted to move away from the "pass-through" grant, because it made sense to go directly to a mammogram provider versus having a group like Planned Parenthood, which does not directly provide mammograms, get a cut of the funding. So for the $680,000, Komen's intent all along was to realign those dollars elsewhere in other programs, to be able to do more and serve more women.
Are there other mischaracterizations about Komen?
Another falsehood that Planned Parenthood and [its president] Cecile Richards promoted is the notion that we were "pulling the grant." That was not true. Komen was transitioning out of the grants and was already working with Planned Parenthood, working with Komen affiliates, to ensure there would be absolutely no gap in service. For Komen, the $680,000 represented less than one percent of Komen's total granting portfolio of more than $93 million a year. This really was an inconsequential amount of grant funding.
An update from The Exchange.
From a recent episode of The Exchange, I explain why the media is not to blame for the decline in evangelicalism. You can see the full episode here.
Be sure to watch The Exchange every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. CDT, right here at EdStetzer.com. On next week's episode, Andrew Peterson joins us to discuss worship and art and their place in the church.