Are bad habits stopping us from being an evangelistic congregation?
Lessons from the Wesleyan Revival. Near the end of the short book, Logan, a retired seminary professor, lists six bad habits that prevent local congregations from living out a vital evangelistic ministry.
In short form, these six bad habits are:
- Leaving evangelism to the clergy
- Thinking of evangelism as membership recruitment
- Adopting the attitude “our doors are open, anyone who comes is welcome”
- Believing that active evangelism is socially or culturally inappropriate
- Divorcing the saving of souls from social action
- Turning to institutional survival as our primary purpose
I read this list and find myself examining my own attitudes about evangelism and the attitudes and actions of my congregation. Do we show signs of these bad habits?
Logan writes that there are two ways to drive out these habits. First, we need to stir up a real passion for Jesus Christ in ourselves. If we do not love Jesus, then we will not be bold about proclaiming his name in the public square and to our neighbors. Second, we must convert our local churches from being all about survival to being all about mission. Keeping the doors open is not the purpose of the church. Reaching out and making disciples is.
Easier said than done, of course, but we have to be honest about what we are and what habits and attitudes shape our today before we can start to create a new tomorrow.
I don’t have a complete answer to the question I raised at the top of this post. Is my congregation caught in bad habits? I suspect, at least to some degree, that answer is yes. But I’m still a long way from understanding that fully. Logan gives me some ideas about how to do that. He might help your congregation as well.