Growing churches come in all types and sizes. But one of the most consistent qualities of a growing church is a commitment to evangelism. Specifically, they tend to embrace a proactive approach to outreach.
The involvement of churches in evangelism tends to fall into two broad categories: passive and proactive. Passive evangelism churches seldom grow, or if they do, tend to grow very slowly. Passive outreach churches have little organized evangelism. Their approach tends to focus mostly upon having good quality church services and encouraging their saints to invite people to those services. The importance of being a witness may be emphasized from the pulpit, but few opportunities will exist to exercise their witness within a church-sponsored event. In the passive evangelism church there will be no organized door knocking, bus or van ministry, visitor follow-up, Sunday school contests, home Bible study training seminars, or revival crusades. When asked why, they often respond that few in their church participate in such activities so they have been dropped altogether. So evangelism has become “passive” as in “we hope our saints are witnessing.”
This can be contrasted with churches that take a proactive approach to outreach. Each week the church bulletin and announcements are filled with opportunities to spread the Good News within the community. Here you will see throughout the year organized door knocking, prayer walks, block parties, bus and van ministry, home fellowship groups, home Bible study training events, special services and activities, Constant Contact Consciousness, Sunday school contests, soul-winning training, visitor follow-up, flyer distribution, youth evangelism, street and park services, and the list goes on. Evangelism is proactive, intentional, organized and well-promoted. Participation in these activities is high, often with 50-60% of the members involved in some kind of organized activity. The saints in these churches see the commandment to be a witness (Acts 1:8) as an important part of their spiritual maturity – just as important as church attendance, tithing and prayer. They believe it because this truth has been taught to them over and over again.
Bottom line: for there to be a harvest, seed must be sown. How much harvest you have is in direct proportion to the amount of seed distributed. Sow abundantly, reap abundantly; sow sparingly, reap sparingly. When we do our part, God always does His part (Psalm 126:6). When a church does all they can to sow as much seed as possible, they always grow at a faster rate than those churches that just sit back and hope that God somehow does it for them.