Our current day finds people in a uniquely vulnerable place. Many are fearful of what the future holds. Others are concerned about the present political climate, their personal health, or finances. Yes, these can be scary days, but at the same time opportunities to share the gospel abound!
Despite many opportunities, there has been an undeniable and drastic decline in evangelism. As Christian researcher Dr. Ed Stetzer states in a recent post, “It’s a sobering reality that nearly 80% of unchurched people say they will engage in a faith conversation but that only 30% of Christians are actually telling people about Jesus.” Why is that?
First, Satan is actively working to distract and discourage believers. One way Satan works is to keep church leaders so busy with problems within their congregations that they have no time to think about outreach. The problems may range from the local church level to the denominational level.
The solution? Recognize Satan for who he is and ask God to keep those issues from distracting you from evangelism. Few things do more to resolve internal conflicts than seeing people come to Christ. A new convert’s excitement for the Savior causes us as believers to focus on Christ, not each other.
Second, the church is becoming known more for what we are against than what we are for. We tend to have a greater concern for changing a person’s political opinion rather than their spiritual condition. The New Testament church did not focus on political opinions or personalities, but rather on proclaiming the good news of the King of Kings who died for our sins and rose from the dead. Focusing on changing someone’s mind about politics pales in comparison to changing their eternal destiny. We need to regain our focus on the main thing, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally, church growth has become more important than church outreach. Don’t ask, “How many more church members do we have this year than we had last year?” If most came from another church, then all we did was relocate Christians. Instead, ask, “How many people have come to Christ through the witness of the church and are now growing as disciples?” Ask the right question and decide together how to grow by conversion instead of transfer.
Yes, there has been a decline in evangelism, but it is not irreversible. Let’s take advantage of this day of opportunity and be about what consumes the heart of God—reaching people for Christ.
(Note: This article originally appeared in EvanTell's 2017 Summer issue of Toolbox. View our Toolbox archives!)