Greg Stier wrote an article giving seven reasons why America hasn’t been reached for Christ. It’s an astounding thought that maybe America hasn’t been reached for Christ. There are so many Christians here. But, if you talk to 10 unbelievers I’d estimate that four of them wouldn’t know why Jesus died on the cross. Probably all 10 of them would know that Jesus did die on the cross, but that’s a far cry from possessing a clear understanding of the gospel.
I agree with Stier’s seven reasons (for the most part), and I thought I’d add a little to them.
1. We have outsourced the work of evangelism.
Stiers’ example of this is big events such as Billy Graham crusades. But my church does relatively small events where we’re supposed to invite the unsaved and someone will present the gospel at some point. Ray Comfort points out that this is like police throwing a party at the jail and inviting the criminals, so they don’t have to go out and catch the criminals. This is not only unbiblical, but it leaves evangelism to the one person who speaks. No one else has to present the gospel to anyone. And it’s way more work and more money to try to throw a big party than just walking up to someone and talking to them.
2. We have lost our sense of urgency.
Stiers says that hell has been taken out of the equation by some Christians. I guess this would be the only point I’m not really seeing eye to eye with Stiers on. The Christians I know certainly believe in hell. And for me, while not wanting people to go to hell is a motivation, a bigger motivation is a desire to obey and glorify the Lord. We should evangelize out of obedience, and leave the results to Him.
3. We are ashamed of the gospel.
Steirs says, “I believe that many Christians are secretly ashamed of this catalytic ‘narrow minded’ message.” Over the years, I’ve put a lot of thought into why Christians don’t share the gospel, and I’ve always held out hope that this wasn’t the issue. Recently I’m beginning to think this is the main issue. Christians, just like everyone else, want people to like them. That’s fine to a certain extent, but if we want people to like us more than we want to speak the truth to them, there is a problem.
The proclamation of the gospel is going to lead to problems and controversy in your life. A certain percentage of the people aren’t going to like you or your message. Some people will call the police. Some people will yell at you and mock you. Some will get saved. This is what happened to the apostles, and this is what is should be happening to us.
Besides that, the gospel isn’t something to be ashamed of. It is something that should give us so much joy that it overflows into telling others the good news. If you’re worried about people disliking you so much that you’re not sharing the gospel, I think that’s cause to question your salvation.
4. Many Christians can’t explain the gospel.
It is pretty clear to me that this is a problem, and Stiers hits the nail on the head with his explanation.
5. Church leaders are not leading the way.
This is pretty clear as well. The way I learned to witness is by tagging along with others who were doing it, until the guy I was with said, “Go talk to the people sitting on that bench.” There is no other way to learn than by doing it.
Don’t you think the “Teaching” part of the Great Commission (commonly known as discipling someone) would involve church leaders showing people how to evangelize? How many pastors are showing people how to witness? How many pastors can witness? Are they unwilling or unable?
6. We have forgotten how to pray.
Stiers says, “When church services spend more time in announcements than intercessory prayer then you know something is broken. If we want to reach every person in this nation with the good news of Jesus we need God to act on our behalf. We need Him to soften hard hearts and open closed doors. We need to pray like we mean it.”
I have to admit this is my weak spot, but I’ve committed to doing better, and praying for God to raise up laborers for the harvest.
7. Churches don’t mobilize their young people to share the gospel.
This is Stiers’ ministry—training and motivating teens to share the gospel. I like witnessing to young people (about ages 16-30) most of all. First of all, they are in less of a hurry to get where they’re going–they’re willing to sit around and talk. It seems, their minds are less made up, and they’re open to discussion.
Stiers finishes with, “It’s time we drop our lame excuses and reach this nation for Jesus Christ. Who’s with me?”