Culture of evangelism: evaluating programs

Lee Stephenson

Lead pastor, Harvest Community Church, Orlando, Florida

  • Evangelism

Converge executive director of Church Planting Lee Stephenson shares eight components needed to create a culture of evangelism in your church in the May 2018 issue of Point magazine.

In this eight-part blog series, Stephenson expounds on each of the things he says church leaders must do to create an evangelistic environment.

Part 8

Every church has programs. Some of them are steeped in history and have a place of tradition, while others are new and cutting edge. 

Let me take a moment to encourage you to sit down and think about what your church does and why it does it. Programs have a way of sucking the life out of a church. Specifically, they have a way of sucking the life out of evangelism and discipleship.

We have a knack of dividing discipleship and evangelism into separate strategies, programs and steps in our church. For a church to grow in its evangelistic fervor, it has to move beyond programming and introduce evangelism as being linked to being a disciple. If all we ever do in our church is offer a program (an event) to reach people who are far from Christ, the best we will ever experience is malnourished evangelism.

Oddly enough, it often seems that evangelistic programs do other things better than what they were intended to do. They produce community among participants, open the doors to new places of ministry and encourage people to make a stand for Jesus. These are all great things.

However, they tend to do little when it comes to actual evangelism. We want evangelism to not just make converts, but to make disciples. If you are consistent in linking the two and helping people live out what it means to be a follower of Jesus, evangelism will happen.

We have limited time and resources. If a program exists that lost people aren’t coming to, the gospel isn’t being communicated and next steps aren’t being laid out, cut the program.

Leaders, this is your responsibility. You have to decide what is important and what people give their time to. The size of the mission is too big for us to ignore. Let’s make disciples who change the world. 

Lee Stephenson, Lead pastor, Harvest Community Church, Orlando, Florida

Lee Stephenson served as Converge's vice president of Church Planting from 2015-2022. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harvest Community Church, a Central Florida multisite church. Before coming to Florida, he and his wife, Melissa, planted a church in Mesa, Arizona. Stephenson has worked to establish new church plants around the country and is a go-to coach and trainer for church leadership and planting.

Additional articles by Lee Stephenson