FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) —
Block parties, festivals and other evangelistic events are essential
ingredients for effective churches, according to a study by the Scarborough
Center for Baptist Church Planting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
in conjunction with the North American Mission Board.
“Our findings suggest that
many of our nation’s most effective evangelistic churches are utilizing
attractional evangelistic events,” said Jerry Pipes, team leader for mass
evangelism at NAMB.
Researchers started by
polling 3,200 Southern Baptist churches last year as part of the Evangelistic
Event Research Project.
What the study revealed
Several common denominators emerged
among highly effective churches:
- They sponsor attractional
evangelistic events, do several of them annually, do them especially well and
get excellent results.
- Two-thirds of highly
effective churches sponsor both evangelistic events and an active personal
- Significantly more highly
effective churches sponsor evangelistic events than lesser effective churches.
- They sponsor significantly
more evangelistic events and do significantly better preparation and follow-up
for evangelistic events than lesser effective churches.
- They sponsor more
holiday-related, revival-like and sports and recreation evangelistic events
than any other types (in that order). More than half sponsor revival-like
“We define evangelistic
events as special events, which intentionally draw lost people through
relationships and attraction, clearly present the gospel and provide an
invitation to respond,” Pipes said.
The report comes at a time
when, in some quarters, the value of attractional methods has been questioned
for reaching communities with the gospel.
“A lot of churches have
pursued a missional approach to evangelism and church growth to the neglect of
attractional evangelistic events that will draw people in,” Pipes said.
“It’s like asking a pilot
flying over the Pacific Ocean whether he wants his right wing or his left wing.
The answer is you need both wings — both missional methodologies and an
Ed Stetzer, president of
LifeWay Research, said when churches are committed to conducting evangelistic
events, it creates a more evangelistically motivated congregation.
“Events help get people
mobilized, and mobilized people reach out to their friends,” Stetzer said.
“In research we conducted for our book Comeback
Churches, we found that doing evangelistic outreach events was a key part of
many churches’ revitalization.”