Four Ways to Create an Evangelistic Culture in Your Church

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?

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Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren. He is the author of twenty-four books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, was released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.

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I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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