The American evangelical process is shifting.
“Churches aren’t growing because of conversions. Churches are just swapping sheep.”
Have you ever heard someone make this claim or something like it? I have—way too many times, from pastors and church members alike. What do we make of this kind of comment, and how do we respond?
First, a note of encouragement: just because you don’t see conversions, it doesn’t mean they aren’t happening in churches in America. They are.
The gospel has never stopped being powerful. Conversion growth will continue to happen. Nothing can prevent the power of the gospel from working in the lives of those who believe it enough to act on it.
Some Practical Suggestions for the Disheartened
#1: Don’t pout – PRAY! God is able to make you and your church mighty in gospel ministry. Do you remember when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and empowered them to be His witnesses? The Holy Spirit came when they were gathering for prayer.
When God’s people pray, things happen.
#2: Consider spending some time addressing what needs to change in your approach to reaching people. In a recent meeting with Evangelical leaders, I learned that many American churches experiencing conversion growth have discovered a slight, but significant change in the process for how to effectively evangelize.
Compare the old American Evangelical process to the new…
For decades, the most effective process used by American Evangelicals followed this pattern:
- Using a tool like the Four Spiritual Laws, a gospel tract, or the EE presentation, a Christian presented an unbeliever with the opportunity to believe in Christ by sharing truth with him or her.
- The Christian would then invite the new convert to become a part of a church.
- The Christian would then help the new convert to enjoy a sense of belonging with the church.