The below excerpt is from research conducted in 2008 by LifeWay Research on evangelism. To read more on this study, click here.
“For several decades we have focused on come and see, invest and invite, bring your friends to church by attracting them with a great program. We call that attractional ministry. Now we are facing the reality that fewer unchurched people are willing to visit a Christian church.
“This will compel us to embrace a go and tell – or incarnational – approach,” he said. “Should we invite our friends to church? Sure. But should we be, do, and tell the Gospel to people in culture? You bet. It is not only biblical, but it is even more essential today as our culture grows increasingly resistant to the church.”
While unchurched people are open to relationships, few church members are intentionally investing time developing relationships with non-Christians. A soon-to-be published 2007 survey of more than 2,500 adult church members found only 25 percent agreed they “spend time building friendships with non-Christians for the purpose of sharing Christ with them.” A full 38 percent actually disagreed with the statement and 36 percent were noncommittal about it.
“Too often the way our churches measure success revolves around what happens at church when we ought to be focusing on what happens in building intentional relationships with those far from Christ,” McConnell said. “Some of the activities on our church calendars may actually be preventing effective evangelism by keeping believers away from the people they need to reach.“
Sports provides a great context for Christians to “be, do, and tell the Gospel to people” in our community. We have more information on incarnational ministry if you’d like to check it out.