Reclaiming Evangelism: A Practical Guide for Mainline Churches

by Jan G. Linn. Chalice Press, 1998.

Jan Linn suggests that many people consider "mainline evangelism" to be an oxymoron. While acknowledging that there are some reasons to agree, Linn fundamentally disagrees. In his understanding, if the mainline church is to be faithful to the totality of the gospel message, it needs to re-engage in a properly understood ministry of evangelism.

Linn first describes the context, the world, in which all churches minister. The opening chapter of 'Reclaiming Evangelism' reminds us of the profound changes that have taken place and the continuing relevance of the gospel. Next, he examines the foundational theological issues for evangelism. The author makes a case for understanding evangelism as part of the identity of the church and as an intentional activity of the church. In the heart of the book, Linn describes the steps a church should follow to engage in intentional witnessing and explains how to organize the church to achieve that goal. Finally, in opposition to the dominance of church growth theory, Linn offers "a way for churches to think about numerical growth without making it their primary aim or measure of success."

This book can serve as a study for congregations and its leaders (ordained and lay) as they consider evangelism and how to implement it in their faith communities.