Seven Reasons Why Evangelism Should Be a Priority of Your Church

Evangelism is dying in many churches today.

No, that’s not an overstatement. I am not speaking hyperbolically.

Evangelism is dying.

Look at the data. Measure almost any group of churches today versus thirty years ago. You’ll likely find that only one person is being reached with the gospel for every forty to sixty church members. You will find that conversions have declined precipitously. And where you find numerical growth, you are more likely to find that the growth is transfer of Christians from one church to another. That’s not evangelism. That’s sheep shuffling.

Pastors and other leaders must fall on their faces before God and ask Him to reignite their congregations with an evangelistic passion. When evangelism dies as a priority in the church, the church has already begun to die.

So why should evangelism be one of the highest priorities in your church? Though the reasons are many, allow me to share seven of them.

  1. Because Christ commanded it. We typically refer to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 as our evangelistic and disciples-making command. But there are many other places in the New Testament where the priority of evangelism is clearly evident. Christ commanded it. We must do it.
  2. Because Christ is the only way of salvation. There is no way around it. Salvation is exclusive. There is only one way. Jesus could not have made it clearer in John 14:6: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” Jesus had an urgent message. He had an exclusive message. We must be conveyors of that narrowly-defined hope.
  3. Because Christ died for the world. There is a reason John 3:16 is the most familiar and most quoted verse in the history of humanity. Jesus died for the world. He is the only way, but He has provided a way for everyone. That is a message that is urgent and worth telling. Indeed it’s the greatest message ever.
  4. Because churches that are not intentional about evangelism typically are weak in evangelism. Many pastors and church leaders will affirm this article. They will give mental assent to the priority of evangelism. But they do not practice the priority of evangelism in their churches. What are you doing today to make certain evangelism is a priority in your church?
  5. Because churches tend to obsess inwardly when they fail to move outwardly. Where has a lot of your church’s energy been expended lately? Rancorous business meetings? Expressions of petty church preferences? Worship wars? Power struggles? Those are inward obsessions. Lead your church to an evangelistic priority and watch the focus shift for the better.
  6. Because churches become content and complacent with transfer growth. Some churches are growing. Others are adding members without significant numerical growth. But many in both categories are growing at the expense of other churches. Some may be reaching unchurched Christians. That’s good, but that’s not evangelism. We can fool ourselves into thinking we are evangelistic when we are simply recirculating the saints.
  7. Because evangelistic Christians actually grow stronger as better discipled Christians. Those who are evangelistic are obedient to Christ. Being obedient to Christ means that we are following His teachings and becoming a better fruit-bearing disciple.

Most churches are busy with activities, programs, and ministries. Few churches are truly sending out their members to evangelize those in their communities. The Great Commission has fast become the Great Omission.

Evangelism is dying.

Churches are dying.

People are going to hell without Christ.

It is perhaps the greatest tragedy today.

What are you doing to lead your church to become more evangelistic?

Posted on October 10, 2012

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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  • I used to think this way, but America and the world has a church on every street corner. And, we weren’t called. When Jesus spoke about the great commission he was speaking to the disciples, not people 2,000 years in the future. The world over is well-informed of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

  • How are you servants of the most high God Yahweh. I have been enjoyed your lesson on evangelism, I have learnt a lot. May Yahweh bless you.
    Francis Songwe Chanda.

  • SANDE ROBERT says on

    Am from Rwanda and Christian student leader at university of Rwanda but this article has given me right direction. For sometime i have been busy struggling with church activities that do not give life, love and peace to people. But now I feel renewed ready to go for the right purpose of God to all human kind starting from the university. GOD BLESS THOM.

  • I am presently a student evangelist, needed additional knowledge. This write up was so helpful!
    More Grace Sir.

  • I guess I’m going to hell then

  • Why evangelise?

    I once lived in a town that had a population of 150,000. I researched and discovered that every 24 hours 150,000 people die on this planet, just think about the scale of it; the population of an entire town disappears every day! So where do they all go? Probably 99.9% go immediately to hell, yes that’s right, the subject that’s never preached about in churches any more – hell. In fact, in the Gospels, Jesus mentions hell more times than heaven, yet as Christians, we can be so heavenly-minded that we turn our backs on all those poor souls going down into hell.

    Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw the multitude and so must we. We must be motivated to evangelise by only one thing – love. So no, I disagreed, we don’t evangelise because just because Jesus commanded it, (to gain brownie points), every Christian should go outside into the street and witness because we want to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world.

  • Toyin Alao says on

    This article has really inspired me and am going to share it with women in my church. Thank you .

    • Onyema Chukwueke says on

      This is a good one, mostspecificaly to the pastor’s if they will abide to this instruction and stand to be in front to evangelize so that the fear that is greaping the members will disappear.thankp you sir more grace.

  • Dan Beane says on

    Word! It’s amazing that, over 34 years, when I evangelize I am much more likely to have a good day and mood than when I don’t.

  • Pst. Charles Mombo says on

    I count myself blessed to have read this great article. Quite inspiring, empowering and encouraging. I’ll be sharing this with our Eshibanze K.A.G Church (Kenya) and brethren globally. I am also resolving,by God’s grace to evangelize in my locality at least, weekly. Thanks a lot, God bless.

  • Mr. Rainer … just finished your books from 2001 and 2003 (The Unchurched Next Door and Surprising Insights) … can you tell me if there are any significant changes in the profiles of the unchurched from those years? Anything that might no longer be useful as I try to lead our church to be more evangelistic?

  • I am a young lady who have passion for mission ,i keep on insisting on evangelism,on my entire university life ,i have done evangelism ,one thing i am happy about ,any time i reach out to people ,my spirit is added more and more ,
    you need to understand if you have a fruit ,you will be pruned and produce more and better fruits:
    Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2).
    Don’t just sit there ,arise and work for God

  • I have spent twenty years in the pastorate and always emphasized evangelism.. However, as the years have gone by fewer and fewer churches and their leadership seem to be really interested in evangelism. Since 2000 I have not pastored any church because none are really interested in the hard work that is necessary to work to win others for Christ, so I am doing a door to door ministry attempting to reach people, who are not attending church but who believe the Bible, but just have never had anyone explain to them the plain truths of the Bible about salvation and discipleship.