NAE President Leith Anderson: Why Evangelicals Grow
"The Assemblies of God is the fastest-growing religious body in Minnesota at a time when other Protestant groups are shrinking," according to the Star Tribune (Minnesota's largest newspaper). The stories of growing evangelical churches and denominations are repeated across America. "We kind of have a church-planting fever," according the Reverend Clarence St. John, district superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Minnesota. Why is this?
Why are evangelicals growing?
The reasons are multiple.
1. Evangelicals are evangelistic. While some of our growth is from the demographic birth rate we believe in the "Second Birth Rate." We believe that sinners need Jesus Christ as Savior and should be born again. Evangelism is at the heart of who we are. Analysts say that churches grow when parishioners invite outsiders to church. If those in the church don't invite, then churches shrink and eventually die. Evangelicals are inviters.
2. Evangelicals are church planters.As you travel across America check out the new churches meeting in schools, theaters, shopping malls and other rentable public spaces. They are almost always evangelical churches. Often these venues have waiting lists, because more new churches are lined up and waiting. Many of America's congregations are old, and some are dying. Evangelicals have a hefty stock of new churches with young new converts. The future belongs to the denominations that are starting new churches.
3. Evangelicals welcome immigrants. Many of our evangelical churches were founded by immigrants during past generations. Most of our churches have generous and passionate missionary commitments around the world. With so many new immigrants coming from countries experiencing spiritual revivals and explosive growth of evangelicals, it is no wonder that immigrants are attracted to evangelical churches and that we welcome them with such delight.
4. Evangelicals keep the faith and change the methods. Some churches and denominations have changed the faith and kept the traditions. It has not gone well for most of them. Evangelicals hold on to the historic orthodox biblical Christian faith but embrace new methods that relate to our 21st century culture.