According to current research, the majority of evangelical churches have put evangelism on the back burner; it is no longer a priority. This is especially sad because as American society has become more and more secular, the evangelical churches have also become more and more passive about confronting the culture with the Gospel.
1.) This lack of evangelistic focus has become endemic to Christian culture.
It is estimated that only 3 out of 100 Christians will ever lead another person to faith in Christ-in their entire lifetime! Think of it-97% of church folks will never lead even one soul to Christ on a one on one basis.
Even the idea that it is possible to witness to an individual and that person agree to receive Christ “on the spot” is seldom held to be possible or preferable in modern experience.
2.) This lack of evangelistic focus is also systemic in the evangelical Church leadership.
This lack of evangelism begins with the shepherd of his flock. As he goes- they go; as he does-they do. If a pastor and staff are not highly motivated towards evangelism, neither will the people be.
A pastor who does not witness to others outside his congregation on a weekly basis will not encourage his people to witness. He will not preach about evangelism if he is not active in evangelism.
I. Unworthy motives for evangelism
Because the Gospel of Grace does not say “you have to be a soul-winner” most assume we don’t need to. Thus when we lose the individual motivation to witness, we have also lost much of the corporate motivation for evangelism.
Some false motives for witnessing:
Guilt: Acts 1:8- “you shall be my witnesses…”
Some have said, “I know I should be a better witness, but I don’t have the gift…
Answer: personal witnessing is not a spiritual gift. Eph 4:11 tells us the “evangelist” is God’s gift to the church, so he can train others to witness effectively (see Eph. 4:12-13) The “you” in Acts 1:8 is a 2nd person plural-“you all” meaning every believer is to be a witness to the saving love of Christ.
Shame: Romans 1:16- ‘for I am not ashamed…”
Some have said, “I am too embarrassed to speak about my faith, religion is a private thing…”
Answer: If you were in a witnessing, mentoring environment you would not be ashamed. Churches that teach and train their folks to be witnesses are not ashamed, but rather are on point looking for opportunities to share their faith.
Duty: Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47, 48; John 20:21
Some have said, “I know I should be as better witness, it is every Christian job, but…”
Answer: When you are rightly related to the Holy Spirit, his commands will not be grievous to you. See 1st John 5:3, His commandments become opportunities to please him and to claim his promises that he will be “with us” as we share the gospel with a lost and dying world.
Pay- back-“I owe it to Christ because he saved me, so I should try to save others.”
Answer: No, we can never repay God for his amazing Grace to us, and we do not evangelize out of guilt, shame. duty, or pay-back. However, evangelism is the by-product of a life lived in fellowship with Christ who came to seek and save the lost. When our hearts are captured by Christ, we can say with Paul, “the love of Christ constrains me” to be an ambassador for the gospel.
II. Worthy Motives for evangelism
A spirit filled believer is a Christ controlled believer. He has the heart & mind of Christ. He will care about what God cares about. 2nd Cor. 5:14 “for the love of Christ constrains me…”
The Greek word “constrains” =to seize upon, as a besieged city, to hold in, to lay hold of.
Paul is saying that God’s love for the lost has captured his heart, it compels and consumes him. See 2nd Cor 5; 14-20; Romans 9:1-2; Romans 10:1
Life Take Aways:
1. We each must “pray the Lord of the Harvest” to motivate us to care about the harvest even as He cares.
2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you his eyes to see people as he sees them.
3. Pray for the Holy Spirit to make you an intentional Witness.
4. Pray for relationships that can give you opportunity to share your faith.
5. Make it a life goal to become an effective, trained witness that need not be ashamed…