Below is a brief summary and some some quotables from the article. You can read the whole article here:
- Part 1: The history of evangelism in the SBC
- Part 2: The current state of evangelism in the SBC
- Part 3: What has gone Wrong?
- Part 4: What we have to do to fix things.
My SummaryIn 1945 Southern Baptists baptized approximately 257,000 people into their churches. In 1955, only ten years later, they baptized approximately 417,000 people, almost doubling in just ten years. How did we do it?
- from their earliest beginnings they emphasized church planting.
- [they] continually affirmed for the congregation the importance of sharing Christ with the lost.
- [they] used decisional preaching… preaching which calls for an immediate and public response.
- personal evangelism throughout the community.
- Sunday School became the cultivation strategy for SBC churches.
- [they] used revival meetings as their primary harvest tool.
[Southern Baptists have] reduced planting, neglected cultivation, and not surprisingly have found the harvest coming up short.
Money [for evangelism] is not the crucial issue reducing our fruitfulness. Having more money will not turn things around.
The gospel’s power is not the crucial issue. Our message has the same power to transform any human life today that it had in the first century of the church.
Discipleship is the crucial issue.
We are not anointed – that “we” would be you, me and all of us at work in places with little evidence of the activity of the Holy Spirit. We are so not anointed we have come to accept not being anointed as normal.
[We] have become so focused on discovering a method that works; [we] fail to realize an integrated process is far more important than any one method that is a part of that process.
More importantly, Southern Baptists are becoming the new Methodists.
- Universalism is settling into our pews as more and more Southern Baptists believe and behave as though they believe a personal relationship with Christ is not necessary for one to be right with God.
- Tolerance is beginning to overtake conviction as growing numbers, particularly of younger Southern Baptists, are less comfortable with taking a firm stance on moral or doctrinal issues.
- More importantly, our behavior, the way we live our lives, is blending more and more with our culture. We are growing ever less distinct and recognizable in the crowd of our nation’s population.
We are blending in more than we are standing out.
Our problem is not that more of us don’t witness to our neighbors. Our problem is that more of us do not look like and live like Jesus.
Here is what we know stated as simply as I know how to state it:
In times past God has worked through our Southern Baptist churches in a mighty way. In times present God is not working in a mighty way through our churches. How are you going to respond to this?