is Project Winsome International?
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.