A reader brought up a great point to the last post: What’s the remedy to our current form of evangelism?
Before we tackle that, a note. For the most part, we will define evangelism as the stories we tell in order to attract people to our message. In essence, evangelism is inspired marketing (and many businesses, such as Apple, are starting to think in terms of evangelism toward their brands). Under this definition, we can appropriately understand that evangelism is a method…a strategy which connects people to something (in the case of churches, the message of Jesus Christ).
Which begs the question: Are the stories we tell losing their influence?
And here’s the crossroads where we often lose our way. Our first answer to this question tends to be a resounding “yes.” We point out that our gospel meetings aren’t bringing in the numbers they used to. We point out that the responses to our door knocking campaigns are far and few between. We point out that people don’t read our tracts, come to Bible class as much as they used to, or respond to our gospel sermons in the numbers they did ten years ago.
Our tendency at this point is to blame the world for our loss of influence, and hide behind the excuses of an increasingly secular, materialistic, indifferent, evil culture. We are quick to point out that Jesus said “the world will hate us” for choosing to follow Him and speaking about Him (which is missing the point of what Jesus was saying in it’s original context). And, following this reasoning to conclusion, we blame our lack of results (attendance numbers, responses, etc.) on our culture.
But the culture isn’t the issue. Actually, one can make a substantial case, backed by many studies which have been conducted, that today’s culture actually embraces spirituality. Which also tells us that the message isn’t the issue. The Gospel message of Jesus Christ (that despite the fact that we’ve estranged ourselves from God, He chooses to run to us rather than destroy us) is as powerful as it was two thousand years ago.
Our problem is a strategy problem. We’re speaking the wrong language and focusing on the wrong approaches. And perhaps, we don’t really understand our own message all that well.
More to follow over the next few days as we strive to uncover a way of life which carries the banner of Jesus Christ.