We had another dismal year in baptisms this year—the worst year in my lifetime.
This breaks the record for worst year set last year.
The previous record was set the year before. Look at the graph and weep.
Here are four observations and a specific suggestion.
1. We didn’t get here quickly, and we likely won’t get out quickly.
I think we need to take a long-term perspective on this. No quick fixes.
2. If we don’t change something, nothing will change.
If you keep doing what you been doing you will keep getting what you been getting. Insanity is doing the same thing expecting different results.
3. We are still transformed by the renewing of our minds.
The problem is between our ears.
Every problem is a learning problem. It is a teaching problem. We can teach our way out of any problem. It won’t be quick. The kind of thinking that got us here won’t get us out of here. We much change the way we think. Only new thinking will create the kind of long-term change in behavior that is needed.
4. We need a whatever-it-takes attitude
There are likely major changes needed both in our personal lives and in the way we do church. There are a whole lot of us who tend to want different results while doing the same thing. They call that insanity.
Here is some good news. There are churches—a whole lot of them—that are growing and growing rapidly. They are growing rapidly without compromising the gospel. We can learn from them. If we do what they are doing, we will likely get the results they are getting.
A suggestion: a 12-week study of evangelism every year
I suggest we all get better at sharing our faith. Let’s all admit we are not very good at evangelism, and we can do better. Let’s commit ourselves to studying this diligently. Let’s study the best practices of those who are good at evangelism. Let’s pray—really pray. Let’s assume we probably won’t get it all right the first time and commit ourselves to doing this every year for a while. Let’s keep studying until we see results. Let’s change our thinking, change our behavior and change our churches.
Here is one Bible Study you might consider. I love this book: How to Talk About Jesus (Without Being That Guy): Personal Evangelism in a Skeptical World, by Sam Chan.
Here is one more: BLESS: 5 Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World by Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson.