There is little doubt that God’s mission and mandate for his church centers on evangelism. This means that, no matter what churches are doing, the primary objective must be clearly and plainly communicating the gospel. Our message is good news – God loved our sinful humanity so much that he gave his only Son. Anyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Carl F. H. Henry once wrote: “The gospel is only good news if it gets there on time.” Most Christians know this is true; however, we are consumed with other activities and forget the importance of evangelism. Below give 5 reasons for this misplaced focus and then give some recommendations.
- We fail to maintain an eternal emphasis — being evangelistic requires us to remember that every person is an eternal soul. The daily pressures of this world are distracting and we assume this is all there is. But, we need to live with eternity in mind.
REMEDY: Say to yourself, “This person is an eternal soul. They will live forever somewhere. What can I say today that will point them to heaven?”
- We are too concerned with approval of others — the church engages in many activities that will generate public applause. Evangelism is not one of these activities. If our ears are tuned to the approval of those outside the church, we will find other “noble” activities and neglect evangelism.
REMEDY: Seek God’s approval first and remember, when someone trust Christ, they will be eternally thankful for your courage.
- We are silenced by bad examples of evangelism — we all have seen bad models of evangelism, models that are mocking or humiliating. My friend, Alvin Reid calls these attempts “E-vandalism.” Fear of being labeled, or being viewed like these bad examples keeps many silent.
REMEDY: You don’t allow bad table manners to stop you from eating, instead, you strive for dignity when you eat. Rather than letting these bad examples of evangelism to keep you silent, determine to be a good example for others.
- We forget that the gospel is the solution to social needs — this world is broken! People are hurting. Lives are being destroyed. Evil seems to be winning. Physical needs overwhelm our senses and “mere words” seem so futile. In the face of social issues, it is tempting to neglect sharing the gospel.
REMEDY: Don’t stop providing help. However, never “just” meet physical needs. The gospel is the only lasting solution for this broken world and for those suffering under the penalty and pain of sin.
- We believe our lack of knowledge justifies silence — there is so much we don’t know about the Bible. We are afraid to share because there are so many questions someone could ask us. We don’t want to lead someone astray and we do not want to be embarrassed by what we don’t know. This fear keeps us from trying.
REMEDY: Share anyway! Study what you don’t know. Let your lack of knowledge be the impulse to study.Here is a link to a simple, free online course on basic Christian Doctrine.
If you have any questions about evangelism or if you would like more encouragement, don’t hesitate to let us know. Our commitment is to equip a generation of Christians to effectively share the gospel of Jesus.
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also contributes to SEBTS faculty blog www.betweenthetimes.com