An Evangelism Problem?
Those who know me, know that I’m committed to missions and evangelism. Our small church has doubled their baptisms every year for 3 years running now. We’ve gone door to door and shared Christ in over 1,000 homes in the past year alone. We have increased our missions giving from around $1,000 the first year that I was there, to around $7,000 today. I’m not trying to brag (you’ll see that clearly in a minute) but I want to help you to understand that I’m not trying to cop out of the work of evangelism. After all of this “success” it seems to me that we’re failing miserably. Let me illustrate:
In America, 70% of evangelical “converts” leave the church within one year of their “conversion.” Of those “converts” left in the church, a large amount would be children, of which 88% of churched children leave the church at 18 yrs of age, and never return. This would lead me to conservatively estimate that maybe 15% of our converts are legitimate. Maybe!
Then, if you consider that divorce rates are higher in the church than out, teen promiscuity is just as high in the church rather than out, etc., etc. etc., it seems to me that of those left in the church, many of those are not truly “regenerated” or “changed” by God’s power. Billy Graham has said before that some 70% of church attenders are lost. That reduces the amount of legitimate conversions to something like 3-4%.
I say all this to say that I’m conerned that our understanding of evangelism is seriously flawed. I can certainly identify the problem, but I struggle with finding an answer to the problem. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts, particularly as it relates to potential solutions.