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Pastors polled on churches' evangelism; VBS still at the top


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) ó When it comes to evangelistic outreach, the most common methods Southern Baptist churches use are Vacation Bible School, feeding ministries, visitor follow-up, and prayer for people who have not made a decision to receive Christ.

Most pastors, however, struggle to lead by example in personal evangelism, and churches donít make the most effective use of available media to communicate with people who are unchurched (those not associated with any church).

These were the key insights drawn from an online study, conducted by LifeWay Research, that asked Southern Baptist pastors more than 30 questions about their personal evangelism efforts, evangelism in their preaching, their churchís evangelism methods, and advertising outreach methods used to reach their communities.

By far the most common outreach event conducted by Southern Baptist congregations is Vacation Bible School. Eighty-five percent of pastors say their churches held VBS in the past 12 months. The next most common event, registered by 58 percent of pastors, is a prayer emphasis focused specifically on outreach or unbelievers.

The next most-often mentioned events are servant evangelism projects (46 percent), revival services (45 percent), and door-to-door canvassing (44 percent).

Concerning their personal beliefs about evangelism, 43 percent of pastors strongly agree that evangelism is often overshadowed by other priorities. About one-third of pastors cite evangelism training as an ongoing activity, though 96 percent strongly agree that every Christian has a responsibility to share the Gospel with non-Christians.