An evangelistic culture must underlie a church’s evangelistic strategies, or they will not work, according to Kie Bowman. Bowman led a breakout session at the 2021 New Mexico Evangelism Conference titled “Creating an Evangelistic Culture in Any Church.” He emphasized that certain principles about evangelistic cultures work in any size church in any place. “Every church has a culture,” he said. But, every church must ask if that culture is evangelistic.
“Every church I have served has been evangelistic,” Bowman said. He has served 30 years as a senior pastor, 44 years in ministry and 24 years as pastor at his current church, Hyde Park Baptist Church, Austin, Texas. Through the years, he has consistently seen the churches he has served lead hundreds of people to Christ and to be baptized.
During the session, Bowman explained that culture emerges when church leaders demonstrate consistent actions and messaging about some cause, like sharing the Gospel. Those things, coupled with visible, personal urgency and patience create a climate that establishes culture. With those things in mind, he questioned people, especially pastors, about their willingness to pay the price of staying long enough to see an evangelistic culture take hold.
Bowman tied the necessity of building an evangelistic culture in every church upon God’s instruction to “Go” and upon the demands of lostness. So many people are lost, he said, and “we are not reproducing ourselves spiritually.” Referring to Jesus statement, “Follow me, and I will make you followers of men,” Bowman said, “To the degree that you are following, you are fishing.”
Taking the entire session, Bowman described several “principles for building an evangelistic culture.” “No church develops an evangelistic culture by accident,” he said, emphasizing that pastors set the tone for their congregation’s culture.
Among the principles were urgency, which reflected the finite time people have to receive salvation and saints have to tell the Gospel. Bowman also prioritized evangelistic leadership, urging pastors to set the “evangelistic temperature” for their churches. He discussed the importance of evangelistic praying, too.
Turning to practical matters, Bowman described a process that could work for any church in any place, planning “one event every month on that calendar that exists for no other reason that evangelism.” He called the effort “evangelistic action” and suggested that churches make sure that they look at every group in the church and community, not just adults. Such things, he said, require training. He also talked about evangelistic teamwork, meaning that all of a church’s staff – vocational or volunteer – work together to lead the church, to keep records of evangelistic work and to ensure the church has a consistent, workable plan to lead new converts all the way through to baptism.
“At some point you have to ask the Gospel question and share the Gospel,” Bowman concluded. “We have to cross the line to sharing the Gospel.” For him, creating an evangelistic culture in the church helps that happen.