Evangelism in a Day of Revolution

This article is a little lengthy, but WELL worth taking the time to read. It was written by Leighton Ford (Billy Graham’s Associate Evangelist) fifty years ago during the tumultuous 60’s. It is as relevant today as ever.

“The Church stands with all mankind at a crossroad, sharing a common concern: Which way do we go to make a new world? There are some who say, ‘Learn’—education is the way. Some say, ‘Earn’—economic development will solve our problems. Some voices are crying, ‘Burn’—society is so corrupt we must destroy it. There is truth in all of this. But Jesus Christ says, ‘Turn. Be converted. Put your trust in God. Seek first his will. Then you can be part of the new world God is making.’ Most revolutions fail because they are not revolutionary enough. They fail to grasp the fundamental problem, the problem of the human heart.”

Christianity Today, October 24, 1969

Evangelism – Nominals vs. Nones

As nominalism shrinks, and secularism rises, our approaches become less effective amidst a reality where almost every church is targeting nominals…

Evangelism – Nominals vs. Nones

Most people in America are nominal Christians. About half the people in America call themselves Christians, but they don’t have any statistically discernable life change…only 25% of Americans call themselves Christians and have demonstrable engagement in that commitment. This reality, and its changing numbers, are essential to understand the future of outreach and evangelism. The challenge is that most of our church-planting efforts target the fastest shrinking segment. We are focusing on those who are nominal Christians because we think this will yield us the greatest result or provide us the easiest path to seeing people attend our church…However, the category of nominal Christians is the fastest shrinking category today. Perhaps 20 years ago, nearly 60% of the population was nominal Christian. Yet now, nominalism is declining about 1% per year…Today, most unchurched people we reach are either dechurched, formerly churched, or are a kind of nominal Christian who is not antagonistic towards church people…when we look at younger adults (specifically college students) only 30-35% would fit the same description as nominal Christians— and many more are secular…As nominalism shrinks, and secularism rises, our approaches become less effective amidst a reality where almost every church is targeting nominals…there is really no marketing-based approach that is going to significantly relate to an increasingly secular culture. We cannot plant churches among secular people in the same manner that we plant among nominals and expect the same return…As we reach nominal Christians, we need to also train people to start reaching the growing secular context…

– Ed Stetzer