Sunday, January 25, 2009

Adventist evangelism: ask an expert.

Want pastors to get excited about evangelism?

Treat us like experts.

That's one of the ideas I picked up from Atul Gawande's Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance. When it comes to washing hands, you see, medical staff know they should do it, but don't do it as much as they should. (Sound familiar?)

And when hospitals brings in consultants to nag, cajole, and explain why everyone should wash their hands more often, medical staff smile, nod . . . and keep on doing what they've been doing all along. (Sound familiar?)

Then one hospital tried something different: instead of bringing in experts, it asked the staff members themselves how to encourage hand-washing -- and then it took those ideas and put them to work. Result? More hand-washing!

So here's my idea: let's try the same thing with pastors.
  • Let's assume we really do want to do evangelism.
  • Let's assume we have some pretty good ideas on how to make evangelism happen.
  • And while we're at it, let's assume that we also have some pretty good ideas on why there isn't more evangelism taking place right now.
So put us in a room. Ask us about evangelism. And be prepared to spend the money needed to act on our ideas.

To be sure, it's easier to ignore local pastors than some high-priced expert who's been flown in at great expense.

And maybe that "expert" will have better ideas.


But just because we work here doesn't mean we're stupid.


trevan said...

I 1,00000% agree. Great post.

Bill A said...

It's the spend money part where you will have problems. I don't necessarily disagree with your post - although in my experience some pastors are NOT experts in evangelism. However, you are correct that some are.

But we are cheap bunch. We call it being a good stewards, but really were just cheap. So you'll have prove that your expert ideas will work before the church will spend money. Kinda sucks. I deal with this all the time. In your washing hands example, probably not much money was spent because the hospitals are already paying for the necessary equipment and materials for hand washing. Maybe they added a few inexpensive signs or reminders. But many churches aren't spending a red cent on evangelism, so they have to lay out some serious cash to get started. It maybe be more difficult to get them convinced.

So are you going to post up some of your expert ideas so we can learn? :-)

Pastor Greg said...

Some pastors are experts on evangelism, while most are not -- and yes, the same was true of hospital staff as well.

But expert or not, we can still learn from each other. And given the track record for outside consultants, maybe it's worth a try?