I recently wrote an article that offered ten questions to help you diagnose the evangelistic health of your church. A couple of the readers asked insightful questions related to the culture of a church. Specifically, they wanted to know how a church could create a culture to become more evangelistic.

While the creation of an evangelistic culture cannot be reduced to a simple formulaic approach, I can offer four suggestions of a more practical nature.

Church Culture Shift #1: Leadership Must Model a Passion for Evangelism. The first church I served as pastor had not seen one person become a Christian in 26 years. Rather than complain to the congregation about their evangelistic ineptness, I began praying for opportunities for me to be a gospel witness in the community. I was amazed how many doors God opened. I was amazed to see how many people responded positively to the gospel. And I was amazed to see how others began to follow my leadership example. Within one year the church that had seen no baptisms in 26 years had, ironically, 26 baptisms in one year.

Church Culture Shift #2: Ask one Sunday school class or small group to become an evangelistic group for one year. This approach creates a system of accountability on a small scale. That one small group understands that it has been selected to be an example for the rest of the church. Watch what will happen within that one group. Watch how the group members become more intentionally evangelistic. Watch how they will become more prayerfully creative and excited to reach people with the gospel.

Church Culture Shift #3: Begin a small-scale evangelistic mentoring approach. Again, asking a person to mentor another person engenders accountability. In my first church, I mentored a new Christian named Steve. I taught him how to begin a conversation about Jesus. We worked together on the essential elements of a gospel presentation. At first we went together to talk with those who weren’t Christians. Steve eventually became more comfortable sharing Christ on his own, and he soon began mentoring someone as I had mentored him.

Church Culture Shift #4: Make certain corporate prayers include praying for the lost. Most church members are not hesitant to pray for the physical needs of people. But rare is the church that prays together for those who are not Christians. A few churches, though, pray for lost people by name. Others are more comfortable praying in general for the non-Christians in the community. As the church begins to pray for the lostness of her community, God often begins to demonstrate clear answers to those prayers. And the culture of the church becomes decidedly more evangelistic in its culture as the prayers are infused with a burden for those who are not followers of Jesus Christ.

Of course, these four suggested church culture shifts are far from exhaustive. In many ways, they are but a starting point.

What would you add to this list? What is your church doing to create a more evangelistic culture?


Pastor to Pastor is the Saturday blog series at ThomRainer.com. Pastors and staff, if we can help in any way, contact Steve Drake, our director of pastoral relations, at Steve.Drake@LifeWay.com. We also welcome contacts from laypersons in churches asking questions about pastors, churches, or the pastor search process.

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Comments

  1. Robert McGillary says

    Thom -
    I have to admit this article made me uncomfortable. It’s always been easy for me to blame our church for its lack of evangelistic effectiveness. The more I read your stuff though, the more I realize that God can use me to be the evangelistic catalyst in the church. I sure was more comfortable when I didn’t sense I had any responsibility in the culture. Now I know God may be waiting on me.
    Thanks. I think.

  2. steve drake says

    Robert, I know what you mean. As a young pastor, I read Ephesians 4 and reasoned the work of the ministry was assigned to the saints in the congregation. Sheep produce sheep but I was the shepherd. At some point I realized I too was a sheep under the Chief Shepherd. When that happened, I understood I was to be my flock’s shepherd producing sheep as an example.

  3. says

    This is one reason I love this blog:
    It is so “rubber-meets-the-road” that at least once a week I find stuff that is not only relevant to issues we’re facing as a church but I read ideas that I can implement the coming Sunday.
    Thanks for this and for all that you do, Dr. Rainer.

  4. randy duvall says

    Advice for individuals in the body
    1)members need to know sharing the good news is not optional, you would be surprised how many believe it’s for a select group and they are not one of them
    2) Any sharing without true caring is plastic at best, do it with empathy and love. People know what is sincere, remember people are not numbers
    3) members are afraid to share, they believe they lack the knowledge to share, if only they knew that a little with love goes a long way
    4) generally speaking, politics/religion talk starts arguments earn others respect (by your light and love) before you share and don’t get into deep theological discussions (K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple saint/son/servant/sheep)
    5) As a Christian we share/plant seeds, others water and God saves. Many times people come to Christ years later, on God’s timing not ours. Share unconditionally

  5. says

    thanks for the insights. As to the Q of other ways to stimulate an evangelistic culture within the church, hearing testimonies or living stories of how one met Christ during worship services, verbal testimonies during baptism services, publicly “commissioning” church members willing to commit as missional disciples within their “oikos” (social network), and assisting members in how to develope their personal testimony as conversation and transitioning to Gospel sharing (e.g. “May I ask where you are on your spiritual journey?) may be helpful ways to encourage an external and evangelistic culture.

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