Don't misunderstand, I am not against revival services. When a church schedules an old fashioned revival they normally bring in an outside speaker and hold nightly services for some period of time. The church members are expected to change their regular schedules and come to church every night during the length of the revival. The problem with that is that our culture has changed and the people who need to hear the gospel the most are OUTSIDE the church and are not coming to the special meetings like they did 25 years ago. The only way to connect to these lost people is to engage them in DAILY LIFE. So withdrawing from daily life for a week or two and gathering Christians together in a holy huddle is unlikely to result in much evangelism happening. When churches think that holding a week of special services is the main way they should do evangelism, then indeed, evangelism suffers.
That is not to say that holding a series of special services is a bad thing. On the contrary, picking a theme or topic and spending a week or two with other believers learning how to digest that topic and apply it to our lives is of great value, and probably should be done by most churches. But it is more on the discipleship side of things, not evangelism.
How can our churches become evangelistic?
1. Teach the people how to do evangelism outside the church
2. Celebrate stories of how people in the church shared their faith
3. Create time in the church schedule that allows people to share their faith with others
4. Help people understand how to use social media, volunteerism, and verbal expression in balanced ways that move evangelism forward
5. When holding a series of special services, include a night when the church members go out into the community to witness to a friend
Revivals are not bad. But in our post-modern era, they are simply more effective at strengthening Christians than in reaching non-Christians.
What ideas do you have to help churches recover an evangelistic spirit?
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: