Seven Factors Hindering Evangelism in Churches


There is no shortage of pundits who are providing to us the gloomy and dismal state of American congregations, and, indeed, of many churches around the world. For sure, I am among the guilty. While personal evangelism is ultimately a heart issue between Christians and God, we do see ways this disobedience to the Great Commission is manifesting itself.

Despite all the negative information you have heard from me, I remain an obnoxious optimist about local congregations. One of the reasons I am so optimistic is that many of us are no longer ignoring the problems. One of the early steps to church revitalization is a willingness to “look in the mirror.”

With that in mind, in this article I try to help church leaders look in the mirror if their churches are not evangelistic. And here are seven factors that leaders may see when they get that honest perspective.

  1. There is no priority of evangelism. I know. That sounds too self-evident. But churches that do not make evangelism a high priority are really making it no priority at all.
  2. Many laypersons believe that evangelism is what we pay the pastors and staff to do. Such a perspective is first unbiblical and, second, unproductive. Evangelistic churches always have enthusiastically evangelistic laypersons.
  3. Many churches have an excuse mentality. So pastors blame it on the laity. The laity blame it on the pastor. And both blame it on culture, the denomination, or some other external scapegoat.
  4. Too many church members do not connect prayer with evangelism. Many members are pretty good at praying for those who have physical needs. But many are woefully lacking in praying for those who have the greatest need: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  5. Too many Christians fail to be compassionate and Christ-like to others. Evangelism always ultimately includes a clear articulation of the gospel. But too many Christians never get that opportunity to share the gospel, because they fail to show Christ in their actions and compassion.
  6. Most church ministries are not intentionally evangelistic. The church should always seek to make certain any and all ministries include intentional efforts to share the gospel.
  7. Some church members are concerned that new Christians will change their church too much. I’m serious. I’ve heard that line many times. When I was a pastor, I was chastised by a church member who told me I was leading too many people to Christ. They were, she said, changing her church too rapidly.

These are seven of the key factors that are hindering evangelism in churches, at least from a symptomatic perspective.

What would you add to this conversation?

Posted on June 28, 2014

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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  • -Lack of priorities
    -Lack of funds
    -Poor leadership
    -Lack of knowledge
    -Lack of vision
    -Unrepentant heart
    -Unclear call

  • Oni Oladele Joshua says on

    Many challenges are the experience of pastor’s of this generation. Lack of physical and spiritual tools provided.

  • E.C Jo'el says on

    What are tips for an easy flow of speech in evangelism.

  • Very rightly said. The churches being lazy and losing its focus is very serious. How to convince the leaders is very hard?

  • Simukayi Mutamangira says on

    I am expected to lead a retreat on revitalising a dying church. What do I say?

  • Olagbemiro israel says on


  • P. VanDorn says on

    It is so much simpler. Our younger generations have better explanations of their reality that does not demand feigned compassion and sneering judgement. Church is an exercise in avoiding some of the most unpleasant and angry people I know.

  • Perebo Adumo says on

    Over the years, evangelism has been about preaching to people on the street, sharing of tracts, door to door evangelism and the likes, but as the world is fast changing, the effectiveness of this type of evangelism is fast dwindling. Hence, a need to tweak our style of evangelism.
    Influence is the power to affect, manipulate or control something or someone. If we really want to do business with God and bring the world to its knees to worship God, then the need for influence cannot be overemphasized. A Christian that is in a high position in his working place can easily preach the gospel to the younger colleagues and even his mates, especially when he or she upholds the Christian values. This is the power of influence!
    Every one of us has one level of influence or the other. Use it to the glory of God, win souls that are around your circle of influence then the Lord will entrust you with more people because He trusts you to show them the path to eternal life

  • “Many laypersons believe that evangelism is what we pay the pastors and staff to do.” Part of the problem is trying to make such a distinction. There is no such thing as a “layperson”, just as there are no professionals in ministry. As a follower of Christ you are gifted and called to fulfill your role in the Great Commission and as long as you want to make such distinctions between “paid” and “unpaid” ministers, you will always have this issue.

  • Dear Brother /Sister ,

    It is my privilege to have an email with you. I am Pastor Edward Qaser from Lahore , Pakistan. I am serving the Lord Jesus Christ with Evangelistic and Humanity based ministry , to glorify His name and there is good team of Ministers working with us in the field of Harvest in Pakistan. Our main focus is to reach to unreached with Love of Christ.
    People of Pakistan need of knowing about the truth and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ especially the poor people are deprived one.
    Dear , EGM Pakistan is a Humanity base organization and working for the development of the human beings its main object is to mitigate the effects of poverty, disease, illiteracy, disasters, human rights abuse and environmental degradation, on the human race at grass roots level and against all odds, restore its decorum.
    We accomplish this mission by implementing various community based programs like Empowerment of women projects , Computer Centers, Sewing Centers, Relief in disasters, Provide food to Poor and Disable families, Orphan Center, Scholarship for Poor and Needy Students .
    I want to invite you with great love and encouraging words to come to Pakistan and bring the Good News of Lord Jesus with people of Pakistan. Only 2.8 % Christian in Pakistan out of 200 million people , so there is an urgent need of Servants of the Lord.
    May Lord lay burden on your heart for your Pakistani brethren .
    We are inviting you come to Pakistan to conduct crusades, seminars, Leadership conferences and Evangelical Meetings … Hope to hear from you as soon as….

    God Bless you
    Edward Qaser ( Director )
    Cell :- 92-300-843-7639
    Office :- 92-423-596-5371
    website :-

  • I blessed God that issues as such are revealed in the heart of men and they saw necessity of saying them.
    Just a little contribution: the issues of church members where pastors are so concerned with members/ship rather than stands with Christ.

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