And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.Mark 16:15
In my last article, I wrote an open letter to open-air preachers to love the people of God. As I was writing it I realized that there are a lot of street evangelist who may be wondering, what do I do with my churches apathy to street evangelism? Although I can not say I know every reason someone does not want to preach the gospel, I would like to provide four reasons I know definitely discourage evangelism.
There Are False Converts in Your Church
Now, don’t misrepresent what I am suggesting. I’m not saying that a lack of desire to evangelize is a definite sign someone isn’t saved. However, it also is not a sign of great faith. The truth of the matter is that there are
hat same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.2 And great crowds gathered about
him,so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up,since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
This parable is in reference to the visible Church. It can be difficult to determine who is a genuine Christian and who is simply professing with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. Your church may have no desire to evangelize if a large portion of them are unconverted themselves. They have no passion for sharing the gospel because they do not truly believe it.
The way to handle this group is to do what you do best, preach the gospel. We should always be giving the gospel to those outside the church as well as to those inside the church. The people of God will not be turned away from the gospel, it will encourage them and sanctify them. Don’t just assume the guy sitting next to you in the pew has truly repented and put their faith in Christ.
People Are Afraid of Evangelism
Some people are frightened at the idea of sharing the gospel on the street corner or with friends and family. Fears can range from believing they’re not smart enough to being afraid that their friends will hate them.
The way to handle this is to constantly encourage people. Tell them how it was scary for you at first and the courage God gave you through sanctification–that we must always rely on His strength to preach. Christ uses the foolish to confound the wise. Introduce them to presuppositional apologetics that they can feel more confident.
Lastly, call them to repent. God commands His child to not fear. The fact that this child of God is walking in fear is a sign that he is doubting God. Whether it be God’s love or power, this man is committing the sin of unbelief. Softly and sternly warn him against dishonoring God by his fearful countenance. Lay your hands on him, and pray for him. Pray that God in would grant him repentance of this sin. That God would strengthen him with boldness.
People Don’t “Feel Called” to Evangelize
This is probably the most common reason evangelists and open-air preachers hear when someone tells them that they do not evangelize. I do not believe that God has called me to that ministry. It seems it is always based on upon a feeling of being un-called rather than a biblical reason. This is probably the most common reason evangelists and open-air preachers hear when someone tells them that they do not evangelize. I do not believe that God has called me to that ministry. It seems it is always based on upon a feeling of being un-called rather than a biblical reason.
It is true that not every Christian can do every ministry in the church. Not every Christian is called to join your ministry. However, all of God’s children are called to the ministry of evangelism.
(Here is a link to an article that proves this.)
The way to handle this person is to correct their doctrine. Show them that when Christ commands the apostle to go into all the world and preach the gospel it applies to every believer as well. Show them to the book of Acts, where we see laymen and apostle’s working side by side for the advancement of the gospel. Exhort them according to scripture and challenge their excuses.
Some Are Willing But Don’t Know How
There are some people in your church that are dying to share the gospel. They are actively praying that God will give them opportunities. They are in tears as we speak and fully desire to be involved, yet they have no idea how to go about this desire. They are a combination of ambitious and afraid, unsure of the correct approach to go about sharing the gospel.
These people will eventually find you, but there’s a catch — you must be involved in a local church for these people to find you.
The most qualified answer for evangelism apathy is for those who are passionate and experienced in evangelism to be actively involved in a local church. Churches need evangelists. They need passionate people who are experienced in preaching the gospel. People who have acquired apologetic knowledge and experience challenging the world’s objections to the faith. Yet, evangelists must not only be outward focused but inward focused–they must serve the local church. Even the traveling evangelists need to be fully involved with their local congregations. Otherwise, who will disciple the young man on his knees begging God for a chance to share the gospel?
God has placed you where you are to be a light for His gospel. That truth does not end the moment we walk past the sanctuary doors. I would argue that you must make every effort by the grace of God to shine the light of the gospel brighter in your own local church than anywhere else. The answer to your church’s apathy is the love of Christ poured out upon them. Ask that God would use you to be this vessel.
Grace and Peace.