Pastors are noticing a shift in this post-modern world regarding how churches view what used to be known as evangelism. Evangelism has been replaced by the generic and empty concept of “outreach.” There are many reasons for this but the biggest reason is that evangelism is now considered a bit too much “in your face.” After it all, evangelism means to share the good news of Jesus Christ who died for sinners, and many view that as an ineffective way to really “grow the church.” So churches have invented the concept of “outreach” since it allows for all kinds of ways to bring new people into the church. It is stunning to see what churches now consider “outreach.” Church programs including sports, drama, musicals, secular recovery programs, all now qualify as outreach. The proof is in the pudding. It brings warm bodies in. Yes, it does. However outreach is not a biblical concept, though evangelism is. Any outreach that does not include the pure, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ for sins is not biblical evangelism. Biblical evangelism is the sharing of this gospel regardless of the results.
The church is now inundated with people who have come into the church but who have not been saved. The sad part is that many of these stay and join the church. And why not? It is a good place to network and they have great programs for the kids. How do unbelievers join churches? Remember, in the pursuit to “grow the church” some churches have either abandoned membership or made it a simple form that is filled out with a few questions. Hey, in no time they learn the lingo. As a result, hordes of unbelievers have been added to the roles and in time, they make their way into leadership!
If you would like a healthy treatment of both biblical evangelism as well as membership, get your hands on the book by Mark Dever titled, The Nine Marks of a Healthy Church published by Crossway Books.