Because The Cross Was Made of Dogwood – Thoughts On Evangelism, Part 1

One of the popular topics Among church leadership has to do with evangelism and it’s effectiveness. I speak with church leaders regularly about church growth and church health, and I’m convinced that 90% of the time when a church leader says they want to evangelize what they are really saying is that they want the church to grow in attendance. When you look at the efforts of most evangelism programs, the goal is to get people to church. People talking about non-Christian family members say ‘I just wish they would go to church.’ Mother’s Day is in the top two Sundays for church attendance because the one thing mom really wants for Mother’s Day is for their child to go to church.

The problem? As my grandfather used to say, ‘Sitting in church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a hen house makes you a chicken.”

I’m honestly not sure where we went wrong, but the idea that getting people to come to church will be sufficient for making disciples is severely misguided. The obstacles to assimilation are substantial. It’s hard enough for someone to break into a new social group, what with all the customs, traditions, and unwritten rules for interaction. Adding in the spiritual and biblical customs, traditions, and rules, both written and unwritten, makes a difficult environment nearly impossible.

Is it any wonder that a vast majority of new converts abandon the faith?

Is it further any wonder that seeker churches rely so heavily on entertainment to be the glue to hold people to the church long enough for them to assimilate?

I don’t think we completely understand what we’re up against when it comes to evangelism, conversion, and assimilation. I want to spend the next few posts ruminating on the topic.

As we get started, what are your thoughts on these topics? They are probably some of the most important topics we need to face at this moment.

6 Responses to Because The Cross Was Made of Dogwood – Thoughts On Evangelism, Part 1

  1. Wendy says:

    Once people are attending church, we need to get them into small/cell/connect/home groups.  That’s where disciples are made.   It should be explicit that the expectation is that almost everyone will be in some kind of group or ministry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wendy,

      That’s a common practice in churches today. In that model, what is the
      purpose of attendance at big church?

      • Wendy says:

         Communion with the wider body, worship (ie singing) more powerful in a bigger group, all can be exposed to good teaching (the sermon) and we can communicate better about ministries in a larger group.  But making disciples happens better in small groups where we can be accountable, get to know each other better, form close relationships (which cant happen in a group of 300)

        • Anonymous says:

          Very true, Wendy. I never know how to talk to Christians who choose to
          not participate in the smaller group opportunity. They’re missing so
          much.

  2. Sockerman says:

    Amen!!!  Just started reading this series….but already say AMEN!!!  We have spent way too much time sending the message that church attendance is the way to heaven.

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