Evangelistic events still work toward harvest
    January 26 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    “Guess what,” Jerry Pipes would say. Done right, evangelistic events still work.

    And, anything that sets “attractional” evangelism against “missional” efforts is a false dichotomy. Pipes, team leader for spiritual awakening and mass evangelism at the North American Mission Board (NAMB), said results of a study to be released this spring show the most effective churches still use special evangelistic events. At the same time, they train members to share their faith where they live, work and play.

    “Guys have been hearing the past 10 or 15 years that revivals and crusades don’t work,” said Pipes, himself a former evangelist recommended by the Billy Graham Training Center.

    Contributed photo

    Jerry Pipes

    But the study by NAMB in partnership with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary polled 500 of the “most effective, evangelistic Southern Baptist churches” and an additional 500 churches of more middling effectiveness, as measured by the criteria established by the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Growth at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Pipes called it “the most comprehensive study ever done” on the effectiveness of evangelistic events. In his role, Pipes relates to Southern Baptists’ vocational evangelists, many of whom are agonizing over the decrease in the number and length of special evangelistic events churches are holding.

    Pipes said the survey shows 92 percent of the “most effective” churches conduct attractional, evangelistic events beyond Vacation Bible School which the congregation has “bathed in prayer,” and at which the gospel is presented and an invitation extended.

    These “A Pool” or most effective churches do 40 percent more of such events than do “B Pool” or more middling effective churches. 

    More than 70 percent of the “A Pool” churches also claim to use multiple methods to equip members to share the gospel personally where they work, live and play.

    So the answer to a church seeking to increase effectiveness is both to prepare their members to share their faith and to conduct special evangelistic events. 

    “We’re about to see a much better day for evangelists because we’re going to work hard to get this message out there that events work,” Pipes said. 

    Still actively leading such evangelistic meetings, Pipes said he works with churches before he comes to get them to train one counselor for every two people they are hoping will receive Jesus at the event.

    He asks counselors to record the names of people they want to see come to Christ. He also asks them to commit to staying in close touch with new converts for four weeks after the event.

    This preparation alone often ignites growth in a church, Pipes said, as members begin to think and pray about specific people with whom to share the gospel.

    “Where pastors and evangelists work together and apply biblical principles, plowing through prayer, sowing seeds of the gospel through personal evangelism, and then harvesting through attractional events we see God do amazing things,” Pipes said.

    He recognizes many vocational evangelists who depend on preaching revival meetings only, and who are “doing them the way they did them in the ’60s and ’70s are starving to death.”

    Most evangelists who “offer lost people practical help” to draw them and who developed what Pipes calls a “first touch event” that builds the church, “who are current and relevant” have more to do than they have time to cover, Pipes said.

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    1/26/2010 5:40:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

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