The idea of 'the minister as evangelist' seems to have been floating around cyberspace for awhile. Specifically, the idea that a church (a congregation, a fellowship) is 'successful' when it is winning new converts and 'unsuccessful' when it is not and that the minister's main task - what we employ her/him for - is evangelism.
I have some thoughts on this but I want first to stress that I'm not responding to a real life situation; I'm not being told that I'm a good or bad minister on the basis of my conversion statistics, so no need to email me and give me pastoral care.
First of all, making converts isn't the job of the minister, it's the job of the congregation. Theologies about 'the priesthood of all believers' aside, research shows that people join churches primarily because the congregation strikes them as a place where they can make friends.
When I first started going back to church in my early 30s, this was the big hurdle I had to overcome. How did I overcome it? By the grace of God, I told myself 'Well Pam, you'll probably have to go to church for about two years before people treat you in a friendly way and stop shutting you out.' And that was pretty much my experience. For the first two years, people were wary of getting too close or being too friendly.
I wonder how many people new to church - or coming back to church - would stick it out for two years feeling that people in the congregation didn't particularly care if they were there or not? Not many people, I reckon. Maybe this was a particularly bad experience and maybe I only stuck it out because I expected to do so. But I think it's something to learn.
Also, research shows that one of the biggest reasons people leave congregations is feeling shut out by cliques. That's basically the opposite of staying because they make friends.
Additionally, I do believe that there is a huge cultural barrier to church with many young people not even wanting to go into a church building these days. Try herding the baptismal party into church; I've learnt to start 10 minutes before the service because people unused to church really don't want to enter the building. I don't think most church people appreciate this phobia.
The purveyors of what I call 'The Spiritual Prosperity Gospel' repeat the mantra 'If you preach the Real Gospel (tm), people will flock to your church. ' It doesn't work like that. If the church is short of ministers and it wants more people to serve as ministers, making a realistic job description is a good way forward. Don't expect every minister to be Billy Graham and Mother Teresa rolled into one. Don't expect them to single-handedly defy cultural trends. And don't expect them to singlehandedly 'do' discipleship for the entire congregation.