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

Evangelistic events still work toward harvest

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

“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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Evangelistic events still work toward harvest