Fifteen Reasons Our Churches Are Less Evangelistic Today

By almost any metric, the churches in our nation are much less evangelistic today than they were in the recent past. In my own denomination, we are reaching non-Christians only half as effectively as we were 50 years ago (we measure membership to annual baptisms). The trend is disturbing.

We certainly see the pattern in the early church where “every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). In too many of our churches today, the congregations are reaching no one for Christ in the course of an entire year.

The Poll

I conducted an unscientific Twitter poll recently to see what church leaders and church members thought of this trend, My specific question was: “Why do you think many churches aren’t as evangelistic as they once were?”

The responses arrived quickly and in great numbers, both in public tweets and in direct messages to me. Indeed, I was still receiving responses four days after I sent my Twitter question.

The Results

The response was highly informative for me. Here are the top fifteen responses listed in order of frequency:

  1. Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people.
  2. Many Christians and church members do not befriend and spend time with lost persons.
  3. Many Christians and church members are lazy and apathetic.
  4. We are more known for what we are against than what we are for.
  5. Our churches have an ineffective evangelistic strategy of “you come” rather than “we go.”
  6. Many church members think that evangelism is the role of the pastor and paid staff.
  7. Church membership today is more about getting my needs met rather than reaching the lost.
  8. Church members are in a retreat mode as culture becomes more worldly and unbiblical.
  9. Many church members don’t really believe that Christ is the only way of salvation.
  10. Our churches are no longer houses of prayer equipped to reach the lost.
  11. Churches have lost their focus on making disciples who will thus be equipped and motivated to reach the lost.
  12. Christians do not want to share the truth of the gospel for fear they will offend others. Political correctness is too commonplace even among Christians.
  13. Most churches have unregenerate members who have not received Christ themselves.
  14. Some churches have theological systems that do not encourage evangelism.
  15. Our churches have too many activities; they are too busy to do the things that really matter.

So What Is the Solution?

I received hundreds of responses to this poll. There is obviously widespread concern about the lack of evangelism in our churches and among Christians.

First, let me hear what you think of these responses. Second, and more importantly, offer some solutions to the challenges. Make certain those solutions include what you can do as much as what they should do. I look forward to hearing from you.

photo credit: people talking in paris via photopin (license)

Posted on February 23, 2015


With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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322 Comments

  • People are more secluded nowadays . Door to door evangelism is almost extinct most. likely because of fear. Just reaching out to neighbors seems difficult. As the world becomes more anti-Christian we have a tendency to stay safe. Sometimes (maybe most of the time) I come across as as recluse and angry not because I am but I am self-absorbed with the pressures of job and family.

  • Thank you for this. I am moved to do a sermon April 2021 on the Pampered Church, but under evangelized. In my research I read your blog, It speaks to many of the thoughts in my heart. You have hit the nail on the head. The church seems to be focused on popularity instead of the teachings of Jesus, “To make disciples of all nations”. Thank you!

  • I say hundred percent right what you are saying. It’s good and encouraged me a lot. Thank you. May God bless you.

  • Tanyu Elvis Y. says on

    We should build discipleship movements in our churches. I am not a pastor myself but passionate about evangelism. I had to discuss with the church pastor and we agreed. So as I teach new believers and prepare them for baptism, I make them understand that they are to continue in another class called newly baptized. In the newly baptized class, it’s all about evangelism. They have a brief lesson, and then go out for evangelism. This happens every Sunday. The first class went on and even after they graduated from that class, they kept meeting and praying together and going out for evangelism. So the culture of evangelism has been embedded in them. Now those who graduate from the Newly Baptized class go and join them and they constantly evangelize together. If this continues, we are going to one day have a church full of people who are passionate for evangelism.

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