CHANGE & How to become a “conversion community”

by Terry Erickson and Dr. Rich Richardson, Wheaton College, presentation to the Fellows of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, 12/19/17.

Factors that influence changing a ministry

Conversion is central: Churches don’t need to be “seeker churches” they need to return to an emphasis upon conversion = people changing because of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Para-church/business principles are adapted: Many “conversion communities” (i.e. Bill Hybels, etc.) came out of “learning labs” of para-church ministries (i.e. Bill Hybels came out of a youth ministry program)

InverVaristy Case-study:

4.% to 9.8% conversion in 10 years. They did this in a 13 year process along the following lines:


Preparation (1995-2000): They created …

Activation (2000-2004):

Experimentation (2004-2007):

  • Everyone is an evangelist using the gifts they have been given.

Activation (2007-2017):

  • Budgets and hires are based upon this.


  • Integrate conversion into every aspect of the organization.
  • Use a process, keep going but don’t
  • “Evangelism has to infect everything we do.”