bits from bob....
Problems in Evangelism
by Robert J. Young
©, 2006, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
Everybody's talking about it; few are doing it. Why is evangelism so hard? Why is it so mysterious? What is so difficult about "good
news-ing?" Why is the news of the gospel so hard to share? In this article, I address two possible problems: the receivers and the sharers.
Sometimes evangelism is difficult because of "receiver" problems. Think about some of the "receiver" problems.
- 1. People are not prepared to hear the news. Some receivers need more background, more orientation, or more foundation in order to
hear the good news of the gospel. For people of this kind, the news is not relevant.
- 2. People don't know they need to hear the news. Another way of describing this problem is to say that for such people, the news is not
- 3. People have already heard it. It is not news. There are people who have heard the good news so long and so many times that it is an
easily rejected message. Their experience is similar to listening to the radio or television, but afterward not knowing what was said. Some
people simple do not hear because of familiarity.
- 4. People have heard an alternate version or counterfeit version and have already rejected an message like the good news message. This
occurs also when people are exposed to competing messages. Some cannot distinguish the good news of the gospel as revealed in
Scripture from alternate versions they have heard. If what they have already heard is similar enough, they may become confused. Such
people often cannot hear the good news.
- 5. The message is proclaimed negatively. When negativism characterizes the message, the news is not good for the receivers of the
Those of who wish to share the good news must certainly be aware of the possible problems among receivers, especially when we have
within our power the ability to correct those problems and help others hear. Since most readers of this article will serve as sharers, it is
even more vital that we understand the challenges confronting those who share the message.
Consider this list of possible "sharer" problems.
- 1. We have forgotten that the church exists primarily to proclaim the gospel and to save souls for eternity. A simple two-fold description
of the work of the church is to save people and to keep people saved. When we forget our primary purpose and why the church exists on
the earth, we lose our focus and find ourselves involved in all kinds of other works that most often distract us from our real purpose.
- 2. We have failed to see the urgency of sharing the message. The world in which we live is less and less self-confident of the truth of any
message. Truth is frequently defined subjectively and relatively. When we lose our sense of urgency, we easily find reasons to do other
things first. "Misplaced priorities" is a potential problem. Will someone stand up and remind us that in a world with an exploding
population, time is not on our side. Sharing the good news is urgent!
- 3. We are not prepared and we are not preparing. A wise man said, "If you have to chop down a tree in ten minutes or forfeit your life,
you would be wise to spend the first seven minutes sharpening your axe". You can do more in three minutes with a sharp axe than in 10
minutes with a dull one. Every Christian should be interested in learning how to share effectively the truth of God's word with the lost.
- 4. We are not committed to do it. The Nike ad says, "Just do it." Jesus says, "Do it." We are not committed to doing it.
- 5. We have incorrectly defined or misunderstood Christianity. In 40 years of living the Christian life, a faithful Christian hears about
4000 sermons. With special events and lectureships, the number may be significantly higher. Perhaps a person hears at least 8000 public
prayers. That same person has heard at least 20000 hymns in public worship assemblies. Why? Is this only to serve self? Surely,
Christianity is about more than singing songs, hearing sermons, praying prayers, reading the Bible, and fellowship! Who will stand up to
remind us that God has called his church together under his rule and reign in order to send us back into the world?
Would it help if I made it personal? Fill in the blanks. I have talked to _____ people about their soul and things eternal. I have brought ____ people to Christ.
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Last updated November 7, 2006