The first step in turning around a declining church is figuring out the first step. Hundreds of congregations have turned to Presbyterian minister Chris Walker, also known as The Evangelism Coach, to help them both diagnose and address their challenges.
Chris has a huge presence on the Internet because his stuff is so practical. He’s academically trained, has been studying church growth and evangelism for twenty years, and has given seminars in 7 countries. I took away several ideas, like why I need to totally re-do our welcome letter to visitors. What hospitality and evangelism practices do you need to re-examine? Let the Evangelism Coach inspire you too.
Watch the Full Program:
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The best way to take care of ourselves may be, first, to take care of others. That’s what Chris Walker suggests to declining congregations who have either become too inwardly comfortable or disconnected from their local community. Getting things back on track basically means starting to think of others: our context, our neighbors. It is in seeking God’s heart for the community that we may be able to find our own. Here are my notes from the interview:
The Last Ten Minutes
While popular studies show the first few minutes of a newcomer’s visit is important, Chris Walker says it’s the last ten minutes that can make an even bigger impression. He says this is a crucial connection opportunity, through a coffee break or social hour after the service, to connect with visitors. If you don’t have one, he says, get one.
Pastors Are Not Exempt
If a pastor asks the congregation to bring friends to church without doing so, it sends a strong message. Walker says all pastors need to model evangelism for their congregations by being the first ones to invite others to church.
Hospitality Audit and Other Free Downloads
If you’re wondering how hospitable your congregation is you can download a number of free resources from Chris’ website, like this free hospitality audit. Chris’ site features over 800 free articles on various hospitality and evangelism topics – they’re well worth the browse.
About Chris Walker
Chris Walker is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is the principal writer for Evangelism Coach. He has studied evangelism and church growth ever since working for a Billy Graham crusade over 20 years ago, and has led countless training seminars throughout North and South America in many different denominations.
Chris was involved in youth ministry for 15 years, was associate pastor at Christ Presbyterian in Richmond VA, and in 2001 helped to launch Eternity Church, an international church focused on gathering the nations to worship Christ. He received a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield IL, and a Master of Theology from Union Theological Seminary, Richmond VA. Currently he serves as Pioneer Faculty for Missions and Evangelism in the Americas with Dunamis Fellowship International, a ministry of Presbyterian Reformed Ministries International and is involved in a new church plant in the city where he lives.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Church Post – If you are looking to improve your church’s communications you’ve got to check out this great email platform. I’ve found it easy-to-use, reliable, and John, Debra and Kim are great to work with.
Wistia - If you’re still hosting your videos at YouTube or another ‘free’ video sharing site you know the drawbacks. Wistia helps me put out great looking videos and see who’s watching for how long. The Wistia staff is easy to work with and very professional.
The Grow My Church Store – Everything from mugs to pens to fridge magnets, this is a promotional products store aimed at helping churches become closer communities, more hospitable, and welcoming. I started this store and shop there often because I couldn’t find anywhere else to go for these products.