The Laws of 3 Hearings & 7 Touches

One of the most memorable evangelism stories I’ve encountered in recent times was also a little scary. A pastor sent me a text that his wife, Amber, was in an automobile accident. I quickly wrote back, “Oh my gosh, is she okay?” He told me she was.

Then I get another text  – “Pray for Antonio.” I responded, “Was Antonio in the car?” He told me, no, Amber led Antonio to Christ. He’s the guy who hit her!

Now, was this Antonio’s first hearing of Christ? Probably not –  most likely, the seeds had been planted long ago.

The average guest to your church does not decide to accept Christ, or join the church, the first time he or she visits. On this subject of elmer townsevangelistic strategy, Dr. Elmer Towns actually wrote about two foundational principles in his Practical Encyclopedia of Evangelism and Church Growth. I see the laws at work every day:

The law of three hearings. Research shows that a person will usually attend a church 3.4 times before making a meaningful decision to become a Christian and to unite with the church. It is similar to a person purchasing a new suit: the more significant the purchase, the longer it takes to make a decision. This does not mean some are not saved the first time they visit a gospel-preaching church. The time it takes for someone to be saved depends on the person’s receptivity to the gospel and the responsiveness to the church. The 3.4 figure is a statistical average and implies that those who make a permanent decision for Christ usually attend church about three times before deciding to be saved.

The law of seven touches. It takes more than three hearings, however, to get a permanent response to the gospel. The unsaved must be networked into the church if they will remain true to the decision they make for Christ. This means “the law of the seven touches” must also be put into practice. Research shows that people are more likely to return for the second and third visit if they are contacted seven times after their first visit.

As Towns explains, however, evangelistic results never depend on only one aspect – such as the number of contacts a church makes or the number of hearings given to the gospel. But when all aspects of evangelism are followed—including the laws of the three hearings and the seven touches—the more likely a person will be to respond to the gospel.unnamed

These principles from Dr. Towns are just a few teachings from the Church Growth Movement that we can apply to our ministries today. Join me in an examination of the history of church growth and go in-depth into the most innovative and inspiring aspects of church growth with specific tactics that you can start using right now to maximize your ministry.

You’ll fully engage with this three-hour seminar as I provide you with concrete applications to your church with each principle, consistently asking the question and challenging you to think about – “How do we apply that principle today?”

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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