I cannot begin to tell you how inspired I am by the youth of our church. I tell them almost weekly that they are my heroes. Why?
I really thought the kids were getting tired of evangelism. NOT AT ALL! On Tuesday (2021-11-30), almost all of them signed up excitedly to do it again. Just yesterday (2021-12-02), I was talking with one who, when I asked him about it said, “I don’t really like preaching, but I really like the results” (changed lives).
Yeah, me too. I don’t do evangelism because it’s the easiest thing to do. I don’t do evangelism because it’s always the most fun. Actually, evangelism is a LOT of work. It’s physically and emotionally draining. But the outcome of what happens is absolutely incredible.
The rumor is that evangelism no longer works. These kids would tell you otherwise. They believe lives are being changed by it…even today…even in the 21st century. I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet since around the year 2000. I keep track of what it costs, how many people showed up, and what were the results in the final stages. I also keep track of the retention of the people baptized.
I started tracking these things because one day a friend of mine said, “We did _____’s meetings and nobody is here from that. No one!” I said, “Well, what about Mike, Sara, Bob?” “Wait! They were part of that?” my friend asked. “Yes, they were,” I said. “And so were Suzy, Jim, Sharon…” “Wow, I thought they had been here a long time,” was his response.
What I realized is that people join the church through our evangelism, then they are so excited that they get involved being a greeter, usher, helping in the potlucks, etc. They get so involved, and so crucial to getting ministry done, that we forget they are new and we think church couldn’t have been going on without them, they must have been here a long time. But they haven’t been here a long time.
Here’s what I learned from keeping track:
1. Dollar-for-dollar, our evangelism is the cheapest, most cost effective way of bring people into the church that we’ve tried. Maybe something else will happen later, but for now, it’s the best use of our money.
2. Evangelism still works. It isn’t dead. It’s still reaching people in the 21st Century.
3. Our retention rate runs between 65-75%. The averages moves over the years, but I can track it back almost 22 years now. If we were playing baseball and we got a hit 65-75% of the time we approached the plate, we’d be the Greatest of ALL TIME! The hall of famers get a hit 25-30% of the time.
Oh there’s more. I’d be glad to show you my spread sheet some time. I have the names, the costs, the cost per baptism, the numbers from the last 22 years. Let me show it to you sometime.
This church was started as an evangelistic effort that the youth and young adults did. The old people involved were in their 50s. The old people funded the work. They young people did the work. The kids in our church today are my heroes because they are repeating that process today.
What do you say? Shall we turn them loose? Shall we keep them preaching and sharing the faith we believe so strongly in? I think so, what about you?