For another year in a row, we have seen fewer baptisms in our churches across North America. When there are so many new people coming to America. God is sending the world to our front and back door. The foreign mission field is so close that we interact many of our new neighbors on a daily basis.

We must begin to ask some hard questions if we are going to see an exponential change in the practices how we engage in evangelism or the lack thereof. (1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations? (2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness? (3) What changes in strategy, or strategies need to be added to see increased evangelism efforts? (4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

(1) Why are we seeing fewer baptisms in some denominations?

According to the Immigration Institute in Washington D.C., on their website, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states, facts show that the mission field in here and churches have the opportunity to minister and evangelize if we will just go and make disciples. As stated in a report,

“In 2014, 1.3 million foreign-born individuals moved to the United States, an 11 percent increase from 1.2 million in 2013. India was the leading country of origin for new immigrants, with 147,500 arriving in 2014, followed by China with 131,800, Mexico with 130,000, Canada with 41,200, and the Philippines with 40,500.”

Note: The Census Bureau defines recent immigrants here as foreign-born individuals who resided abroad one year prior, including lawful permanent residents, temporary nonimmigrants, and unauthorized immigrants.

We see that just from immigrants, there is an influx of newly arrived souls, most likely many of them are not followers of Jesus Christ! Just like in most major cities, there is a section of town that the government has located and is using as the Refugee and immigrant, a community for placing newly arrived souls. And hopefully, in some cases, there is a church or ministry that is reaching out to the people in their mission field. Truly The fields are white for harvest.

Having partnered with one such Church, and community in Metro Atlanta, GA where there are over 50 language groups in a square mile, there have been many attempts to reach these souls with the gospel. The church currently has about nine different congregations under its umbrella that are making Jesus known.

I recently heard Franklin Graham share a story how Samaritan’s Purse teams are some of the first Christians many of the refugee Muslims meet after, surviving the long trip on rafts, to the Greek Islands. He shared that many of the refugees are saying that that Islam has failed and does not work. They are asking for someone to tell about Jesus Christ.

(2) Are some of our churches and denominations living in blatant disobedience to the Jesus Christ command to go and witness?

If we were investigating a crime scene, what evidence or proof would we need to come to the conclusion, without reasonable doubt that a church is living in blatant disobedience to Christ command to go and evangelize lost people and make disciples?

I can think of one key factor, intentional evangelism. The church and denomination would have

  • a staff person/leader who gives leadership and is personally involved in evangelism, evangelism training
  • continually engaging lost people to share the gospel
  • making leaders from people groups and language groups, and to develop leaders in their specific group to expand the ministry through evangelism and disciple making
  • Offer session in developing an evangelistic strategy and its components to churches, pastors, and church leadership to have an effective outreach and evangelism ministry
  • Producing new strategies and emphasis for evangelism and prayer, and disciple making
  • Producing new gospel tracts and approaches bases on the biblical principles and prayer materials

(3) What changes in strategy, or what strategies need to be made or added to see increased evangelism efforts?

Through my doctoral project, I learned about surveying, evaluating, and study of strategy development and implementation for churches to determine if they were evangelistic. I learned about the value of evaluating the ministry, a pastor, and a church. Evaluation is good a place to begin. We must ask some hard questions about a strategy, methods, approaches, and its principles. We must make sure that strategy is biblical and at its core is an evangelistic DNA that will reproduce and spread.

The Bible such be our primary source for evangelism strategies, methods and approaches, and principles. We methods and approaches made not identical but in them, you should be able to identify key basis components for evangelism.

If the ministries of a church are not encouraging and equipping believers to go out and make Jesus known on a daily and weekly basis, then should we reevaluate our strategy? Evangelism is the lifeline of the church. We do not reproduce biologically to grow a church, but through spiritual new births. Though, at some point, hopefully, you will share with your offspring about the trusts of Jesus Christ. They will need to believe in and trust Him for salvation.

A good evangelism strategy should include components such as having a person who fans the flame of evangelism in the church, by promoting, conducting and leading out in evangelism.

(4) What changes in leadership need to be made so a denomination and its churches will once again, begin and intentional evangelism emphasis.

Through my doctoral project and through my personal ministry experience I learned about leadership and having the person in place to lead a specific ministry. I know of one church situation where an individual was hired for a staff position on the basis that he was an excellent manager in the business world.

But when the individual was put in charge of the evangelism ministry he grew the ministry from over 250 people down to 15 people in a matter of months. When the evangelism teams went out to make visits, he did not go with a team. He stayed back at the church. Obviously, evangelism was not his passion, but a tool for success.

As I mentioned earlier, I learned a great deal about evaluation that it is good a place to begin. One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

One of my mentors and professors in seminary and Bible College, Dr. Don Aderhold share how every year, he would meet with his staff and directors to evaluate how effective their ministry had been in the past year. Three key questions he asked were, “Is your ministry team evangelistic?” “How many baptisms did your ministry see last year?” and “By what percentage did your ministry grow?”

Dr. A, as we all called him, said that if there were not any baptisms, nor added growth, then he would ask what changes need to be made to become more evangelistic and see potential growth. Then he added, “either they made changes to make sure that ministry was evangelistic, or the person was replaced with a more evangelistic personality.”

I have learned that effective organizations conduct an evaluation for the purpose of improvement. But you cannot force people to do something that they are not passionate about and are living out.

What changes need to be made:

  • Hire leadership that has an evangelistic heart and lives it
  • Hire other staff members or develop a team of volunteers, to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Leadership and team are continually seeking to develop a team of leaders to help carry out the evangelism emphasis, and with logistics for evangelism impact in the community
  • Other staff members are hired to help develop, promote, in the equipping of evangelism strategies and methods and principles that work
  • Develop various strategies and materials for churches to have an intentional and reproducing evangelism ministry and new church growth

On a regular basis, I pray for pastors’, churches, and believers to become more evangelistic. That they would make Jesus known to their community around them and to the world. The world will not know about the saving grace of Jesus unless we go and make disciples. Jesus plan is to for to “Go and makes disciples of all nations,” Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8. We the nations are here at our front and back door. The Distance is not far, but our commitment to Jesus must be deep. Go Make Jesus Known!

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