Category Archives: Evangelism

Eight Characteristics of Evangelistic Church Growth Leaders

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By Chuck Lawless

This week I’ve been preparing some lectures for my upcoming seminars in the DMin in Church Revitalization and Great Commission Leadership at Southeastern Seminary. For years, I’ve kept a running list of characteristics of pastors who lead effective evangelistic churches (that is, churches that are reaching non-believers rather than simply reaching other church members). Below are several of those characteristics.

  1. They believe the Bible is the Word of God. Consequently, they accept the truth that people who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus are without hope. The Word drives them to want to reach people.
  2. They take the lead in personal evangelism. They model evangelism, but not because they happen to be the pastor; they do it because Jesus is in their heart and evangelism is in their blood. These leaders would evangelize even if they weren’t pastors.
  3. They know the church’s numbers. They’re not idolatrous of those numbers, but they’re certainly aware of them. “A number represents a person” is much more than an adage to them; it’s a reflection of their focus on real people who need Jesus.
  4. They take personally any lack of evangelistic growth. That’s not to suggest, though, that they believe they can somehow create growth. It’s simply that they so long to see lives changed that they want to evaluate why when it doesn’t happen.
  5. They’ve led their churches to get ready for growth. They’re not always fully prepared for what God does, but their churches don’t take lightly their responsibility to disciple new believers God gives them. They have the “nursery” ready for babes in Christ.
  6. They know their community well – and they love that community. They can usually describe the general demographic makeup of their community, not only because they’ve studied the data but also because they’ve walked the streets. They’re glad to live where they live, and they hope to stay there awhile.
  7. They hold their staff accountable for doing evangelism. They may not always require written reports, but they’re intentional about asking for verbal reports during staff meetings. Typically, they’re hesitant to hire anyone who doesn’t have a strong evangelism record.
  8. Increasingly, they are more committed to church planting. Because these pastors want to see people saved, they’ve often joined the forces emphasizing evangelistic church planting today. They aren’t worried that everyone comes to their church, and they’re willing to send out some of their best to start congregations.

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on 12/10-2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and nine grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

One Simple Thing You Need to DO to Grow the Church

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My work allows me the luxury of being able to visit many different churches in a number of locations, of both the denominational and non-denominational variety. While I usually stick to evangelical assemblies, I frequently visit Baptist, Assembly of God, Independent Christian Churches, Christian and Missionary Alliance, and many more.

Over the last year my wife and I have intentionally visited ten churches, all evangelical, and all who have clear Vision/Mission statements about reaching the lost and growing the Kingdom. Every single church had a Guest or Visitor Card that they asked you to fill out. We filled one out at each church and gave all of the correct information, including name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. None of the ministers knew us and I did not volunteer any information about my pastoral background.

Now here was the shocker for me – while most of the ten churches were somewhat friendly and offered a decent worship experience, only one of the ten followed up with us based on the information we gave them! Only one out of ten! And to top it off, half of the churches said during the service that if you filled out the Guest Card they would be sending you a gift of some kind in the mail.

I don’t have any studies to back up what I’m about to say, but based on personal experience, about 2 out of 10 visitors will fill out your Guest Card. Most people will not fill it out on their first visit because they don’t know you yet and are uncomfortable with the thought of some strange religious group hounding them. That’s understandable.

But when they do fill it out, it is absolutely inexcusable for the church not to follow-up with those people in some way, shape, or form. I’m not suggesting being intrusive or bothering people, but if you’re not even going to send a “Thank You For Visiting” note, you really shouldn’t be asking people to fill out the card at all. For all we know the people filling out the card might not even be in a relationship with Christ and we have an opportunity that has been handed to us by God to reach out to them. There is absolutely no excuse for not doing so.

I will not name the churches that did not follow up, but I will name the one that did. It was Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY.  We visited on a Sunday Morning. On Wednesday we received a handwritten note from a couple that were members at the church thanking us for visiting. On Thursday we received a letter from their financial secretary thanking us for giving. On Friday we received a letter from the pastor thanking us for attending and including a brochure with helpful information about classes, worship, times, etc… While I haven’t asked, I am almost positive that they have a system set up to do this with each visitor who fills out the card.

9e68ff9d79062ab0a6009254374c12f8While I was impressed with what Immanuel Baptist Church did, I shouldn’t have been, because this should be the norm. The fact that it isn’t tells me quite a bit about how serious the other churches were about evangelism, gaining and retaining members, and outreach in general. I realize that not every church has the resources to put a lot of money into this type of thing, but anyone can set up a small volunteer team to make sure that the Visitor Cards are gathered and, at the very least, a note sent out on Monday letting them know you are glad they stopped by.

I want to encourage you today to begin to do this if you’re not doing it already. From my somewhat limited experience, it will help you to stand out in the crowd and just possibly give you the opportunity to lead more and more people to Christ.

That’s what it’s all about anyway…isn’t it?

Barry L. Davis

 

Barry L. Davis spent two decades as a Senior Pastor and started the ministry of The Pastor’s Helper in 1996. The Pastor’s Helper strives to provide tools and resources to help pastors succeed in their ministry calling.

Yes, God Does Care About Numbers!

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By Barry L. Davis

Often we hear the statement, “God doesn’t care about numbers, He cares about people.” Well, the second half of that statement is true, but the first half is not. If you say that God only cares about numbers, I would agree with you. But it doesn’t need to be exclusive. God cares about numbers AND people, because every number that you count at church represents a soul that Jesus Christ died for. It isn’t numbers or people, it is that numbers ARE people!

If you are trying to gain numbers just so you can brag to other preachers about your church attendance, you are doing it with the wrong motive. But if you are trying to gain numbers because you want to bring more people with you into heaven, you’re doing it right! The ministers I’m most concerned about are the ones who are not bothered about numbers at all.

When you consider that the book of Acts in the New Testament covers approximately the first six decades of church history, you begin to realize that it, at the very least, is a good indicator of how the church should grow. And when we examine that dynamic book we discover that God inspired its author to go to great lengths to record the number of people who were being saved. Why would he do that if numbers weren’t important to God?

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. – Acts 2:41 

praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. – Acts 2:47 

But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. – Acts 4:4

And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women. – Acts 5:14

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. – Acts 6:7

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. – Acts 9:31

And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. – Acts 11:21 

…for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. – Acts 11:24

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. – Acts 14:1 

So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. – Acts 16:5 

And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. – Acts 17:4

Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. – Acts 18:8

As you can clearly see, God cares about numbers, and He cares about numbers because He cares about people! While God blesses churches of all sizes and all churches have different demographics that might limit or enhance their ability to grow, none of us are excused from trying to spread the Gospel just like they did in the book of Acts. Lets start caring about numbers, just like they did in the early church!

Barry L. Davis

 

Barry L. Davis spent two decades as a Senior Pastor and started the ministry of The Pastor’s Helper in 1996. The Pastor’s Helper strives to provide tools and resources to help pastors succeed in their ministry calling.

 

 

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version”, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

What Effective Pastors Do With Their Time

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Leadership gurus will tell you that a primary skill of an effective leader is the ability to manage time for maximum productivity. Out of curiosity, our research team asked over 200 pastors to provide us an hour-by-hour calendar of a typical 168-hour week for them. Keep in mind that 168 hours represent all the hours in a week, so their reports included such mundane items as sleeping and eating.

Impressed with the Effective Leaders

Our study included 101 pastors that we called effective leaders because their churches ranked in the top five percent in conversion growth in American churches. A comparison group of pastors of similar number were leading churches that did not have significant conversion growth.

Our researchers were impressed with the time management skills of the effective pastors. Perhaps the best way to show their skills is to compare their use of time with that of the leaders of the comparison churches.

Differences in Priorities

Without comment, let us highlight some of the most significant differences between the pastors of the effective churches versus the pastors of the comparison churches. You may be surprised at some of the findings.

  • Pastors of effective churches sleep slightly over six hours per day. Pastors of comparison churches sleep almost eight hours per day.
  • Pastors of effective churches spend twenty-two hours in sermon preparation each week versus four hours for pastors of comparison churches.
  • The effective church leaders spent ten hours each week in pastoral care compared to thirty-three hours for the comparison group pastors. Pastoral care included counseling, hospital visits, weddings, and funerals.
  • Effective church leaders average five hours per week in sharing the gospel with others. Most of the comparison church pastors entered “0” for their weekly time in personal evangelism.
  • Comparison church leaders spend eight hours a week – more than an hour each day – performing custodial duties at the church. The typical custodial duties included opening and closing the facilities, turning on and off the lights, and general cleaning of the building.
  • Leaders of effective churches average 22 hours a week in family activities. The comparison church leaders weren’t too far behind with 18 hours of family time each week.

Priorities and Balance

The time allocation of effective leaders seems to complement the way they describe their own leadership styles. In order to accomplish what they considered priority functions, they had to sacrifice in other areas. The leaders of effective churches spent over 40 hours per week with their families and in sermon preparation time. In order to fulfill these priorities, they obviously had to let some things go.

Thus the effective leaders cannot do many of the responsibilities often expected of them as pastors. They cannot make all the hospital visits. They cannot counsel everyone. And they cannot perform all of the custodial duties that may be expected of them. But as leaders they can see that those things get done.

Leaders of effective churches thus make certain that their family and work life is balanced. And they make certain they have time to be missional and all about the Great Commission.

They also give priority in time to prayer and to preparation in God’s Word for the sermons to follow.

They almost sound like they are following the pattern of the early church leaders: “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry” (Acts 6:4, HCSB).

Biblical. Missional. Evangelistic. And powerful preaching.

How are you spending your time?

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on July 1o, 2014. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.