10 Reasons Why Many Churches Aren’t Evangelistic

10 Reasons Why Many Churches Aren’t Evangelistic


Eighteen months ago, I reported on a Twitter poll that asked why churches aren’t evangelistic. Since that time, I have followed up by asking the same question of church leaders in both evangelistic and non-evangelistic churches.

I could cite you a plethora of statistics that demonstrate the evangelistic apathy of most of our churches in North America. But I really don’t think you need much convincing.

Instead, based on my conversations, I will share with you those key reasons why we aren’t evangelistic. Here are ten of them:

  1. They don’t really believe people need Jesus. Unless church members and leaders really believe in the lostness of humanity without Christ, they will not be evangelistic. John 14:6 is a clear biblical statement on the exclusivity of Christ for salvation. Too many leaders and members only give lip service to it.
  2. Evangelism is spiritual warfare. In the most carnal sense, life is easier without being evangelistic. Spiritual warfare is tough. Sometimes it seems to be easier to go AWOL from the battle than to fight in the trenches.
  3. It’s hard work. From time to time someone will ask me, “What is the easiest way to get our church to do evangelism?” The answer is “none of the above.” Too many churches have become self-serving country clubs rather than obedient and sacrificial vessels of God.
  4. Evangelism requires intentionality. God did not say, “Share the gospel as you stay where you are.” He said, “Go” (Matthew 28:19). When you “go,” you have to know where you are going. That requires intentionality.
  5. Effective evangelism often requires we pray for the opportunities. Consider this challenge. Begin each day with a prayer that God will bring people in your path (or help you to see them) where you can be a gospel witness in word and deed. I have been amazed (though I shouldn’t be) how God has answered that prayer in my own life.
  6. Too many people have too many excuses. One church member told me the entire county where he lives was fully churched. In fact, he said there are too many churches. There are, he said, no gospel opportunities. I then showed him demographics that showed his county was 62% unchurched. His response? “I don’t believe that.”
  7. Too many churches are too busy to do evangelism. If your church has so many activities, meetings, and programs that your members never have time to develop relationships and share the gospel, your church is too busy. Some times Satan’s most powerful tool is to get us doing good things to the neglect of the best thing.
  8. Church leaders are not evangelistic. If the pastor, staff, elders, deacons, and teachers are not evangelistic, it is unlikely the church will be evangelistic. The church members will follow that disobedient example.
  9. Many church leaders and members don’t know their field or ministry area. Jesus said, “the harvest is abundant, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). So where is the harvest field? Too many churches neglect their community because they are really ignorant of who is there and what their needs are.
  10. Evangelism is counter-cultural. If you want to be a people pleaser, don’t be evangelistic. Culture hates the gospel that says there is only one way of salvation. But if you want to be a God-pleaser, share the gospel. You may die doing it, but what an honor to pay such a price!

So what are most of our churches in North America communicating to the world with our self-centeredness and lack of evangelistic fervor? It’s simple.

We are telling the world to go to hell.

May God convict us of our evangelistic apathy.



This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on September 5, 2016. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.


  • Dwight Greer

    This article hits right in the gut, too many times we have become so focused on trying to do other things when we already have things beforehand that’s already been done we need to stick to those because they do work. I’m going to use this information tonight at Evangelism Training this is wonderful and great. It’s good to know that you’re not the only one sharing the gospel of Christ and face and resistance on every turn. God bless you my friends and the writer of this material/ article.

  • Timothy Forrester

    I never thought about it that way. Your right we have so much going on in churches, that we forget about Evanglishes over the world. We’re so wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t see what really ahead of us. Christ sent his Deiscsples two by two and told them to go into all (ALL) the world and Preach his word. We preach that, but really we don’t live That? I am not putting churches down, but we; ( that includes me to) wake up and start living what we are Preaching.

  • Amen! You’re not just preaching to the choir …. You are extolling virtue in a clear and palpable way! Telling it just like it is and that’s what the Gospel is all about. Truth telling has become distorted and it’s not a sanctified practice anymore. The church is cultural and it has impacted on the moral character of Christianity. For example, everything about the modern church is middle class and that’s problem. America and the entire world is stratified. Societies are not just a single class, and universal communication won’t hit home until we genuinely follow the spirit of the Gospel which talks to us all: rich and poor, black and white, straight & gay, about what sin is all about and how we have to accept the help of Jesus in escaping it forever. Yes, we all have an awesome undertaking in becoming or better yet learning an Evangelist is all about. Peter and Paul are two good examples to start with. Who comes first, I do not know?

  • Moses Pelumi

    It is my earnest desire and prayer that God will create in us hunger to witness for him, right desire, eternal pursuit such that our lifestyle (attitude) will agree with our message. An empowerment for disciple making. #Jesus saves#

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