Blog by Dave Brown:
Sometimes, we are the problem. We create for ourselves barriers to evangelism. Here are some of them.
- ISOLATION – “I’ve been taught for years not to befriend unbelievers. We Christians are hated by the world anyway; if I am Christ-like, they shouldn’t like me.” In our zeal to stay unspotted from the world system, Christians are increasingly isolating themselves from those held captive by it. Churches are increasingly beset by a “cloister mentality.” Christians are failing to bring the gospel to the public in meaningful ways, and seem to be waiting for the ungodly to come to them on Sunday mornings. While the world system and its proponents hate us, most unbelievers do not hate Christians, and in various cultures, can be very curious about and open to the truth of the gospel.
2. INSTITUTION – “I really don’t have the time because we’re too busy with ministry at church; I’m waiting for the church to organize something.” Over-scheduling can be a problem, with larger churches in particular. Gifted and talented people get involved in multiple in-house ministries serving believers and spend most weeknights and weekends at the church building. They simply have no time to mingle with unbelievers.
If sharing Christ is the privilege and duty of each believer, we are not privileged to ignore Christ’s command because the organized church is not helping us. On the other hand, if we have not been equipped to share our faith, we will be afraid to do so. The more afraid and insecure we are, the more we want to operate as a group (the wolf pack mentality). If we move as a group, we can go out on visitation teams, or we can invite unbelievers to come into our church buildings for an event. In both situations, we have been evangelists by proxy, not in person.
- DISTRACTION – “I’m just too busy; I have other competing priorities; I just don’t have much of a heart for unsaved people.” We are too busy. Busyness and fatigue can be the main things that keep us from pursuing our relationship with God, and guarding His priorities in our lives. If we’re honest, we’ll recognize this as a heart issue. In the end, we all do what we want to do.
- INTIMIDATION – “I would feel uneasy hanging around or talking with unbelievers. They drink and smoke and use foul words, and I don’t appreciate that.” There is one thing that makes both believers and unbelievers uneasy – witnessing about Christ. The fear of man brings a snare. Perfect love casts out fear; love for Christ and His gospel and love for the lost can overcome your fear. Love of self makes us guard our comfort zone. Reach out; do it for Jesus’ sake.
- DILUTION – “I just want to tell everyone that God is all about them. He wants to make them into all the wonderful things they can be.” In an effort to demonstrate “success” in numeric terms, some Christians compromise God’s truth by watering down aspects of the gospel that are unpalatable to the unbeliever. Some present a gospel that is man-centered, offering a genie-of-the-lamp God who exists to help people achieve their dreams. But despite the use of similar terminology, this is “another gospel” rather than the true saving gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9). “Another gospel” is the same gospel with the life-giving DNA changed.
- INSTRUCTION (LACK OF) – “I’ve never learned a solid gospel presentation; I’ve never been trained how to cultivate redemptive relationships; I don’t know how to transition conversations. I won’t be able to answer their questions.” Although many believers know the good news generally, they don’t have their ideas in order, with supporting Bible verses. They would struggle to present it.
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