God-Centered Evangelism

Thom Rainer has recently noted that in 2003 the ratio of church members to baptisms in SBC churches was 43 to 1 (see here). Rainer puts this statistic forward to answer the question, "How many members does it take to reach one person for Christ in a year?"

I suspect that the ratio is 43 to 1 mainly because many (most?) of the 43 never share their faith. If you’re not in an SBC church, I bet the ratio is not that different where you are.

Will Metzger has provided a great remedy for this situation in his book, Tell the Truth: A Training Manual on the Message and Methods of God-Centered Witnessing.

Appendix C of this book is a Study Guide for 12 Group or Individual sessions. This means that Metzger’s book is ready made for a reading group that meets once a month (as I hope we’ll start at Baptist Church of the Redeemer on July 31). Alternatively, you could find a younger Christian and go through this book in a discipleship setting, or just read it yourself!

This ratio of 43 to 1 is not going to bring about another Great Awakening. Metzger observes, "a one-to-one approach initiated by every believer still holds the best promise of evangelizing the earth" (20).

Two more quotes to whet your appetite: "The recovery of a God/grace-centered gospel, or as James Boice has put it, a ‘rediscovery of the doctrines that shook the world,’ is imperative" (11).

"This book is about the scandal of sovereign salvation. In it, I blame God for salvation, in the sense that he is totally responsible. He organized a rescue operation within the Trinity–designing, supplying, accomplishing, and restoring those who are in peril. Our triune God is the Author and Fulfiller, the Originator and Consummator, the Creator and the Redeemer. It's all God's fault–a grace that gives response-ability to the spiritually dead" (13).

May God revive us to what Metzger argues for here: the whole Gospel to the whole person by whole people!

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  1. Hi Jim: I was looking at the DTS older posts and just noticed this one you made. I’ve been writing a book on Evangelism too, since evangelism training is one of my main ministries. In my analysis here are 2 facts I discovered (I have more but no time to share right now). If God elected that in one year’s time a person was to convert to Christ on average that person would have to meet 800 Christians before meeting the one who would lead them to Christ. It has been said by Billy Graham that only 1 in 10 Christians will ever share their faith even once before they die. He is right in fact it is worse than that. If God elected that person and he lived to 80 they’d have to meet 10 Christians a year to meet one who would lead them to Christ, which jives with what Graham said. This kind of stuff will be in my first book “Evangelism For Everyone.” Since you like to read I will send you a copy when it’s ready and you can tell me what you think.

    Point is the ratio 43:1 of the SBC is much better than the whole church on average. I think it even beats the Mormons (that’s my try at sarcasm).

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