I shocked them! Yesterday, over coffee with some wonderful ministry friends, one of them asked “Why is evangelism not happening to a greater extent here in North America? We seem to be losing the battle.” My answer left him with his mouth open. “From my travels speaking across this nation over the last decade there is only one # 1 answer to that question: Most of us do not care enough to want to be involved in it. This is the elephant in the room!” He was shocked! “Surely we only need more training and resources…” he stammered. To this I said: “Our nation has more resources for evangelism than most countries in the world! If we wanted to, desperately enough, all of us could certainly find ways to reach people for Christ”
Could this be true? Is it possible that the evangelism elephant in the room be simply a lack of conviction and motivation?
Some years ago I conducted an informal, but quite thorough, national survey of churches that had been identified by their denominations as successful evangelistically. The most revealing discovery from the over 100 responses we received was that the key common denominator for evangelism effectiveness was not in the methods (they all used varied approaches) or the amount of $ allocated for it in their budget or the kind of training that they used but whether the leadership of that congregation considered evangelism to be their #1 priority. If the Pastor and leaders had a passion that “burned” to see lost people come to Christ then they found effective ways to reach them. On the other hand the church leaders that indicated that evangelism was only one of their top ten priorities saw remarkably less people come to Christ than the first group. Our takeaway was that successful evangelism seems to primarily come down to two things: focus and passion.
Without a healthy outward mindset fueled by a desire to actively reach people for Christ our churches can simply become “bless me social clubs” for “consumer Christians” convinced that the great commission Jesus gave (Matthew 28) somehow does not apply to us. But the good news is that like a fire can be rekindled so can our personal and corporate passion for evangelism and discipleship. As my Mother often said to me: "David, where there is a will there is away!" In Latin America, where I am from, the gospel is making huge inroads and changing communities simply because evangelism is a value that is embraced with passion by the churches. In spite of strong opposition and even danger, the country of Guatemala has seen evangelicals grow to where they say that 50% - 60% of those who live in the capital city claim to be born again believers. When I visited Guatemala I asked some Pastors if there had been a revival that sparked this great harvest. Then they looked at me strangely, shrugged their shoulders, and said: "People told us about Jesus so we go and tell others. Isn't that what we want to do?"
How exciting to think that our evangelism elephant in the room could be defeated this easily...
To book David to speak at an event: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 519 503 8380