“I am still surprised by the number of churches that have no intentional, strategic plan to help Christ followers do evangelism. Ideally, of course, believers will naturally talk about Jesus, but even passionate people sometimes need direction and equipping.”
I’ve been a professor of evangelism for almost twenty years. Over the years, I’ve continually considered and asked why most believers never do evangelism. Here are nine of the reasons I’ve discovered, given in no particular order.
- Many don’t know what “evangelism” is. When doing church consulting, I ask believers to rate the evangelism in their church. It’s not uncommon for me to hear answers like, “We send a lot of people on mission trips” or “we minister to the homeless downtown.” Both of these ministries are significant (and would likely contribute to evangelism), but they’re not evangelism unless the gospel message is proclaimed.
- We have few evangelistic role models. Two men in my life modeled evangelism for me. In both cases, seldom was I with either man without his sharing the gospel with somebody. When I ask my students today about their models, though, many have none.
- Some church members aren’t convinced about lostness. I encourage you to consider doing an anonymous theological survey of your church. I will not be surprised if you find folks who believe that good people might go to heaven apart from a relationship with Christ. Folks who believe that way see no need to do evangelism.
- Some churches have provided no evangelism training. I am still surprised by the number of churches that have no intentional, strategic plan to help Christ followers do evangelism. Ideally, of course, believers will naturally talk about Jesus, but even passionate people sometimes need direction and equipping.
- Fear of the unknown halts our efforts. You’ve probably heard fears expressed. “He might not listen to me.” “What if doing this costs me my friend?” “She might ask me questions I can’t answer . . . .” “They might reject what I say.” Most of these fears, I believe, are more perceived than real in North American culture, but perception matters.