We all know that most churches were plateaued or declining before the pandemic and almost no churches are running today what they did before 2020 concerning live attendance.
The reality is that most churches are in a decaying orbit concerning critical mass and unless some new inputs are offered, there is little hope that things will improve. The math works like this; older members are dying and there are not new people to replace them. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we are getting. It is that simple.
My remedy is a full-scale return to unapologetic evangelism. The most effective form of evangelism has always been a personal invitation or witness from a person known and trusted. Always. We must teach “regular” people how to invite others to church and how to share their faith in natural, fluid and Spirit-led ways.
When I look at a Biblical model, the early church made new Christians, turned them into disciples and sent them out to make new Christians. Two parts evangelism. One part discipelship. As a result, the church flourished and revival blazed across the Roman Empire! I think many churches today are fairly strong on the discipleship end but engage in almost no evangelism at all. In fact, it appears that what little evagelism happens, comes from a tiny percentage of our people. That must change if our congregations are to have any shot at “a future and a hope.” We have to get “regular people” equipped and empowered to evangelize!
I wrote my new book “That’s Good News” in hopes of rekindling the evangelism conversation and equipping people in our post-pandemic congregations to share and invite. Clearly, evangelism has been a casualty of sharp political divisions, culture wars, denominational implosions and pandemic shut-downs. In writing this book, I sought to “name the elephant in the room;” take the fear out and put the faith in.
Beginning this spring, Christ Church will embrace the biggest evangelistic effort in our history. We are going to find 500 people to commit to inviting a different person a week to church for 60 weeks. And we are going to show them how to do it! This will result in no less than 30,000 warm invitations to attend Christ Church. If only one in ten invitations result in a live visit, we will welcome 3,000 guests over the next 60 weeks. If one in ten of those guests makes this their church home, we will receive 300 new members. Simple. This can scale to any size congregation. Perhaps you get 50 people. Or 100 or 200 or 2000. After the 60 weeks have concluded, we are going to find 500 people to share their faith with a new person each week for 60 more weeks. This will result in 30,000 personal testimonies. If one in ten receive Christ, that will be 3,000 new Christians!
A part of our strategy will be an all-church study using my new book “That’s Good News” as our resource. We will do this in large groups, small groups and classes. The book is engaging, funny, Biblically based and practical. “Regular people” are going to enjoy it. By getting evangelism on the “front burner,” addressing fear and equipping our people, we are going to sow the Gospel seeds believing that some of them will “land on good ground and bear forth much fruit.” The book goes on sale on February 14.
Church leaders, I would ask you to pray about launching your own evangelism campaign in 2023! I believe there are hundreds of thousands of people across this country who are “one warm invitation” away from attending a church. The past few years has left people unsettled. Many are looking for answers. We believe Jesus is the answer. Why not equip your people to offer the invitations and why not make the church they visit be your church?
If my new book could assist you, I would be honored.
“That’s Good News” releases on February 14. Pre-orders are available from Invite Resources.
I am not in this to sell books. I want to launch an evangelistic movement.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop has been the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, IL since 1997.
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