Project WInsome International Home Page
Project Winsome International History
The Mission and Goal of Project Winsome International
Useful Internet Links
Search for Specific Information
Project Winsome Int. Literature and Publications
Download Project Winsome International Publications
Contact Project Winsome International
Project WInsome International Home Page

What is Project Winsome International?

Project Winsome, in its present form, began in a neighborhood church. It continued to grow until, by 1974, seventy highly skilled, well-trained leaders of business and industry were conducting Project Winsome events in local churches across United States to equip followers of Jesus to better communicate their faith.
In 1988 PWI, which is directed by a board of six outstanding business and professional people, was redesigned as a positive answer to the hunger of local churches for both renewal and growth.     

Project Winsome is not a one shot program. It is specifically intended to plant seeds which will grow into a continuing lifestyle of renewal and evangelism in and through your local church.


John Allan Lavender, evangelist, pastor-teacher, and author, is the founder and chairman of Project Winsome International. He has made speaking tours in over twenty nations including his native United States.

Eighteen year old Johnnie Lavender began preaching shortly after his call to the ministry in 1941 as a freshman at Wheaton College. His evangelistic gifts emerged in crusades conducted while completing his education at San Francisco State and Berkeley Baptist Divinity School. In 1947 Johnnie's call to vocational evangelism was confirmed by his denomination when he was appointed State Evangelist for the American Baptist Churches of Northern California.

In 1951 the Baptist World Alliance sponsored him and his wife, Lucille, a remarkably gifted lyric soprano acclaimed as America's First Lady of Sacred Song, in a mission of refreshing to the Baptist churches of Europe. The Lavender's toured ten countries, and Johnnie preached 147 times in 120 days.

The quality and integrity of his ministry as a vocational evangelist was further recognized when, upon returning from Europe, Johnnie Lavender was appointed National Evangelist for the American Baptist Convention, a position especially created for him. In this role, he and Lucille conducted scores of local, city and statewide crusades involving hundreds of American Baptist churches from coast to coast.

Pastoral Evangelism       Vocational Evangelism

Project Winsome, in its present form, was birthed when Evangelist Johnnie Lavender dreamed of a neighborhood church which grew as new lambs were born to, and nurtured by, healthy sheep.

In 1954, he accepted a call to the Morgan Park Baptist Church, located in a section of Chicago, Illinois which was 98% Roman Catholic. Using "winsome way" principles, pastor John Lavender led this church, which had averaged fewer than ten additions per year for the preceding decade, in a ministry of pastoral evangelism which saw over five hundred people make decisions for Christ and the church in seven years.

In 1961 Dr. Lavender accepted a call to the First Baptist Church of Bakersfield, California. In this more fertile environment, laymen trained in "A Winsome Way to Winsome", led over one thousand people to Christ and the church in five years. In the late sixties, new believers were baptized every Sunday for over three years, and for about five years the church gave one-half of its income to missions.

Word of the rapid growth spread. Dr. Lavender was asked to teach other pastors and churches how to experience similar results. In large Project Winsome training events, laymen from over one thousand churches were taught to more effectively communicate their faith.

Becoming Truly Trinitarian
Even so, John was deeply dissatisfied with what was going on in his personal walk with Jesus. In 1973 God dealt with him in a profoundly healing, life-changing way (Connecting With God As Holy Spirit).

According to his account, "I put aside my 'might and power' approach and exchanged it for a 'by my Spirit says the Lord' commitment to ministry." The result was a revival which lasted for five years. A new thirty five acre campus consisting of eleven buildings, including Celebration Hall seating 1400, was built and dedicated debt free!

In 1988 Dr. John Lavender stepped aside as pastor of First Baptist Church to prepare and share-- as a gift to the body of Christ --ministry tools to help pastors, and others, lead seekers to Jesus, and help them grow in His likeness. This web site is a product of that commitment.

©1999- 2001 Project Winsome International