. . . posts on faith and life
How did you become a Christian? Was it through a revival? Through an evangelistic crusade? Through Christian television? Probably not. Rick Joyner has been doing informal polls about this for some time now. He recently shared the following:
Last Sunday morning in one of our services, I polled those attending by asking the following questions:
- How many had come to the Lord through a revival?
- How many had come to the Lord through a crusade or evangelistic campaign?
- How many had come to the Lord through Christian television?
- How many had come to the Lord through the witness of a friend or relative?
There were roughly a thousand people in that service. The following are the approximate results to these questions:
- 3 people
- 7 – 8 people
- 4 – 5 people
- All the rest
I have now asked these questions to many Christian audiences, churches, and conferences, and the results have always been basically the same in a category.
The first conclusion we can draw from this is that the most powerful evangelistic force in the world is an encouraged church. When the church is encouraged, individual believers share their faith with their friends and relatives, and that is the most effective evangelism that exists, by far.
That is, approximately 984 people out of 1000 came to faith in the context of relationship(s) with friends and/or family. I know the poll is unscientific, but it’s an important reminder for us about where to put our time and energy when it comes to the question of evangelism. And I think Joyner’s first conclusion is spot on! That is, the most powerful evangelistic strategy is to encourage the church. (You can read the full article here.)
Right now my tribe seems to be something less than encouraged. We are only a little over two weeks out from our biannual meeting (the International General Assembly), where some discussions and decisions with major implications will take place. Ironically, one of the biggest discussions on the table has to do with how we will align our resources in regards to evangelism. I won’t rehash the debate here, as most anyone that stops in here already knows the ins and outs of the issue all too well. But I will say that Joyner’s observation brings one more opportunity to point out what is on the line at the upcoming General Assembly. That is, the greatest enemy to the future and viability of the church is not ultimately a fiscal one, or a structural one, or a pragmatic one. Ultimately, the greatest enemy is a discouraged church, full of discouraged ministers and discouraged members. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend this year’s General Assembly, but my central question to my friends and colleagues that will be there (who I will be bugging to keep the Twitter updates flowing!) will be this: Are you encouraged?