Category Archives: Evangelism

Why Are We In Decline? What Appears to Be a Math Problem is Actually a Spiritual Problem

Imagine the AAA Widget Company. AAA Widget was started 80 years ago by an energetic team of entrepreneurs. They had a vision and they executed the vision for 50 years with excellence. The problem today is that they haven’t added a new customer in the last 30 years. The only way to add customers is to be a qualified salesperson and the only way to become one of those is four years of intense study. Salespeople spend 60-80 hours a week doing everything but getting new clients or selling widgets. The salespeople are aging and burned out. Each branch only has one salesperson and 100 other employees who are working hard to keep things how they are. How long are they going to make it?

If we just do the HOW without the WHY we won’t get anywhere. We can make all kinds of adjustments to the engine but if we don’t correctly diagnose the problem, we may be working on the transmission when what we have is an electrical problem.

Albert Einstein once said insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

If we keep going the way we are going we will keep going the way we are going. It is true for a road trip. It is true for church life. How many people were baptized in your church last year? Are you happy with that number? If you are, keep doing what you are doing. If not, consider something needs to change.

Something has to give. Often we get fearful of making changes because we know that requires change and we are typically a change averse people. We have in our DNA a suspicion of change and “innovation.” But we shouldn’t. Innovation is all around us, even on Sunday and that’s okay because not all change is bad. Church now isn’t exactly how it was 50 or 100 or 200 or 2000 years ago and that’s okay because things do change. Can we acknowledge that? If we can’t acknowledge that, there isn’t really much we can do. We will be stuck in 1950.

I said in the Stan Granberg podcast that there is a difference between going to a museum and going to a triathlon. The museum is all about preservation and protection. The triathlon is about activity, energy, motion and achieving the goal.

Here is the big point I want to make, a constructive point not a deconstructive one – Here is why we aren’t growing – we are aging out, we aren’t reaching our kids, and we aren’t reaching new people. Maybe, maybe we aren’t reaching new people because we care about other things more than we do the lost.

We aren’t reaching them because we don’t make disciples, even of our own children. We don’t make disciples because we opted for evangelism and coversion instead (evangelism – study the Bible through a set of propositions and closed ended questions & conversion – change of mind rather than change of life). Then we made the group of people qualified to evangelize limited (the professionals).

We can say it is lack of energy or poor worship or whatever else but if we aren’t even trying to reach new people how do we even know that?

So we limit our actions from training disciples and disciple makers to evangelism (mind-change rather than life-change) and we limit who can do those actions to the trained.

See the problem?

This is why we are in decline.

Too often we want to focus on the HOW without getting into the WHY. How do we fix it? Any fix that doesn’t consider the why will be superficial.

Why are we shrinking? Because we are aging out without growing on the other end.

This appears to be a math problem but it isn’t. It is a spiritual problem.

If you would like to know the exact numbers you can get some of them here

This is When the Church Grows

The church grows when God’s people become more concerned about the fate of the lost than they are concerned about the comfort of the saved. If we love our traditions more than the salvation of the lost, we will fail to reach them. If we think our goal is perfect worship, we will fail toContinue Reading

What Will Our Generation Look Back on And Regret?

Sometimes I wonder what I will look back at in 10 or 20 or even 30 years and regret in regard to Christianity and church. Here is the main thing I think we are going to look at and shake our heads at our past selves – we couldn’t get outside ourselves, outside our comfortContinue Reading

Can We Start A Discipling Movement In Churches of Christ?

[As soon as I posted this I realized I was off on the wrong foot. If it is a movement, we won’t start it but we would have to embrace it. And I believe God is moving us in the direction of discipleship and discipling in line with the Great Commission (which Barna tells usContinue Reading

“Preach the Gospel at all Times…”

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” – Francis of Assisi In a world where Christians used words more than deeds this was a needed pendulum swing. As the pendulum swings to the other end and Christians rarely use words in public faith proclamation, instead hope that a life well lived willContinue Reading

Has Studying Replaced Doing? Our Evangelism Problem

I have a shelf full of books on evangelism but that doesn’t make me evangelistic. We have a problem if we have read more books on evangelism than the number of people we have studied with. I am convinced that you don’t have to be an expert or know the latest (fill in the blank)Continue Reading

The Obedience/Evangelism Disconnect

If our salvation were to be contingent upon getting every jot and tittle just so then would one be lost if they disobeyed the Great commission? Technically the Greek there isn’t an imperative but over and over again we understand the Christian mission to be one of going and telling. There is no more importantContinue Reading

Making the Foreign, Native: Connecting with Culture on Three Levels

Cultural awareness is very important in Christianity. We get focused on this when it comes to international missions, especially full-time, long-term, over-seas missionaries. They can spend years studying language and culture in order to be effective in a new content. It is an attempt to make the foreign native to us. It is to identifyContinue Reading

What it Takes to get on the path toward meaningful outreach

I just posted this over at Wineskins and invite you to give it a read. I think we have some real issues to overcome here and am confident we will get over this, Resurrecting Evangelism…Calling a Kingdom of Priests. Let me know what you think and pass it along if you think it is helpful!

Resurrecting Evangelism…Here is One Missing Piece to Viable, Intentional Outreach in Our Churches

I just posted something over at Wineskins that I think you may find helpful. If you have a couple of minutes you might want to give it a read Resurrecting Evangelism…Here is One Missing Piece to Viable, Intentional Outreach in Our Churches


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