Lesson XII Quality Characteristic 7: Need-Oriented Evangelism
"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." Mark 16:15
Church growth is inconceivable without evangelism. The sharing of the Gospel of Christ Jesus is basic to the purpose of the church. The question is not if evangelism is necessary, but how can it be practiced so that it contributes to the growth of the church. There are all types of evangelism programs. They run the gamut from "pin them to the wall" manipulative methods to warm fuzzy life-style practices. It appears from Schwarz and Logan's study that the secret is to share the Gospel in a way that meets the questions and needs of non-Christians.
In order to have successful need-oriented evangelism, we must understand the attitudes, values and needs of the people in our community.
One way to do this is through a Community Survey. This is a knock on doors project.
The six most commonly asked questions are:
1. Are you an active member of a nearby church?
2. What do you think is the greatest need in this community?
3. Why do you think most people don't attend church?
4. If you were looking for a church in this area, what kinds of things
would you look for?
5. What advice would you give me as the pastor of the new church?
6. Are you interested in getting more information about this new
This six-question survey has been used all over the nation with incredible success. I have personally used it in starting six churches. We find that people have not been turned off by the message of Christ, but by the way he has been presented. The major stumbling blocks for non-believers include hymnals, organ music, sixteenth-century English, and pressure to attend, give financially, or join the church. People are open to spiritual things. They are not open to formality, tradition, and joining an organization.
The answer to the question "Why do you think most people don't go to church?" is an accusation against our churches. The number one response was that all the church wants is my money. Second, the sermons are boring and don't relate to my life. Third, the people in churches are "holier than thou". Fourth, the church has nothing to offer my children.
In reality, many churches are stuck in forms of worship and ministry, which are more culturally appropriate to the nineteenth century. The robes, organ, hymnals, order of worship and nature and place of the sermon are all vestiges of nineteenth-century culture. They are appropriate primarily to those churches targeting older people or those who have some religious heritage. Today, people under the age of thirty, with no church background, comprise the largest percentage of the population. They are more interested in contemporary cultural forms of worship and ministry.
The vast majority of Christians are post-World War II believers. They received Christ in the 1950s or later. However, the power and financial base of many churches is still in the hands and checkbooks of the pre-war believers. The old folks are paying the bills. The young folks want to change the style of worship and ministry. Conflict is the result.
Many churches are structured for the sake and comfort of those who are already Christians and attending. Church members assume that the church exists to meet their needs, and they structure their programs and build their facility with that in mind. If a church reorients its focus to meeting the needs of the Unchurched, members turn on the pressure with such statements as "we're not getting enough meat in the worship services."
The solution to this problem may be not to replace traditional worship services but to add a contemporary service. It must be remembered that evangelism is not an isolated activity in the church. It is part of the total long-term development of the church.
Quality Characteristic 8: Loving Relationships
"Love one another. As I have loved you so you love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples
John 13: 34-35
Growing churches manifest a measurably higher "love quotient" than stagnant or declining ones. The term "love quotient" is an offense to some. My meaning is: How much time do they spend together away from the church? How generous are members in supporting and complimenting one another? Do they express verbal and physical concern? Do they express that they are glad to see one another? How much laughter is there in the church? Do they know and respond to each other's suffering and happiness?
Churches tend to over estimate their loving relations. Most churches have entrenched power brokers and cliques. The idea of loving relationships is linked to the personal life of the individual church members.
Church membership is a tangible step of faith for committed believers to fulfill our requirements for Christian maturity. It involves salvation and baptism, regular attendance, the use of our spiritual gifts through ministry, involvement in cell groups, and financial support of the church. It is possible to accomplish these activities on a sterile, marginal basis. A loving relationship means that church members associate with one another outside the traditional worship and Bible study setting. Church members become friends and socialize.
LessonXI The Successful Church
The successful church of the twenty-first century and beyond will be one that learns to listen to people, establishes a culturally relevant philosophy of ministry and adapts its ministry strategies to their ever-changing needs.
Identify your target group
Cultivate your ability to listen
Take a walking survey of your community
Write your philosophy of ministry
Clarify your style of worship based on the identification of your target group.
Involve and train others according to their spiritual giftedness
Keep the vision before the congregation
Form and expand cell groups
Reevaluate and plan
Questions for the Church Growth Survey
What is the total membership of the church?
What was the total membership one year ago?
What is the resident membership of the church?
What was the resident membership one year ago?
How many present Bible study groups (cell groups)?
How many Bible study groups did you have one year ago?
How many baptisms during the last 12 months?
How many baptisms during the preceding 12 months?
How many people moved their membership during the last 12 months?
How many joined your church?
How often does the church gather for meals?
What types of social activities does the church provide?
What are the age group breakdowns?
How many full-time staff does the church have?
How many acres of property?
How many people will the worship area seat?
How many worship services do you hold? What style?
How many attend worship?
How many attended one year ago?
Who is involved in the presentation part of the worship service?
Does the church have a written strategic plan? Include in your report.
What is the church's mission statement?
Does the church have deacons/elders? How many? What are their functions?
Does the church have a written operations manual? Is it available to church members?
What is the pastor's leadership style?
Describe the church's evangelistic outreach system.
What is the total church budget? What is the actual income? What are actual expenses?
What percentage of the total income is staff salary?
How are volunteer positions filled in your church?
When was your church started?
How old are the buildings?
How many parking places does your church have?
What is the socio-economic makeup of your church?
In what language do you worship?
What is the education level of pastor and staff?
What type of training do group leaders receive?
What is your church's worship style?
How old is your pastor?
How old is your average church member?
Who is your target group for church membership?
Describe the forms/institutions/regulations that hinder church growth in your situation.
What do you like about your church?
What would you like to change?
How long have you been at the church?
What is your role?
What is the organizational structure of the church?
How do you train leaders?
How would you classify your church's theological position?
Liberal, Moderate, Conservative, Fundamentalist
Are you affiliated with a denomination? If so which one?
How does your church meet community needs?
How does your church advertise?
How does your church do music? How many choirs, groups, ect?
Does the church have an annual calendar of events?
How do you promote missions?
What type of stewardship program do you have?
How often does the pastor visit in member's homes?
What is the place of prayer in your church?
Describe the buildings and location of the church?
How do you elect officers/committees ect?
How do you call a pastor?
Answer all three questions
1. What was the most beneficial idea in the Kingdom Focused Church by Dr. Gene
Mims? This book has 177 pages. How many pages did you read? 10 points
2. List and describe the eight qualities of church growth as discussed in the ABC's of
Natural Church Development. 30 points
3. After participating in the listening and small group exercise, what insights did you
gain concerning our communication patterns as we listen to and work with others?
Answer seven of the following: 10 points each
1. What are two steps in achieving vision?
2. What are three components of the listening process?
3. What three assumptions will help us better understand church growth?
4. How do we answer the critics that church growth methods sound too much
like secular marketing?
5. What six characteristics do successful leaders share?
6. What are the five steps for team building?
7. What four things must a church that desires to mobilize its laity for ministry
8. What are four results of effective worship?
9. Discuss the biblical base and functions of cell groups?
10. What are the six most commonly asked questions in a community survey?