Rainer to DOM’s: Strive for greatness in evangelism

Communications Staff — June 15, 2004

Baptist associations must strive for greatness in the area of evangelism, said Thom Rainer, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Rainer made his remarks during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions in Indianapolis June 14.

Instead of being satisfied with mediocrity, associations must strive to reach lost men and women with unceasing passion, he said.

Citing statistics compiled by the Rainer Group church consulting firm, Rainer said that it currently takes 85 Southern Baptists to reach one lost person for Christ. In addition, 48 percent of Southern Baptist pastors have not shared Christ with anyone in the past three months, he said.

“When half of our pastors … do not have the burning to reach people for Christ, we are satisfied with mediocrity and we have not have not ascended to the greatness that God has called us to,” Rainer said.

To remedy this mediocrity in evangelism DOM’s must develop accountability relationships with pastors and encourage them to share the message of Christ regularly, he said. DOM’s can also promote evangelism by helping churches understand the importance of inviting lost people to church, Rainer said.

Ultimately, however, building evangelistic associations requires DOM’s to model personal evangelism for pastors and churches, he said.

“You must model (evangelism) for the leaders of the churches,” Rainer said. “You cannot program it or plan it until you have modeled it. And if you are not passionate about it, then ask God to give you a passion for lost people.”

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