5 Common Reasons We Don't Share the GospelMarch 19, 2022 Evangelism 1 Comment
5 Common Reasons We Don't Share the Gospel
In a recent conversation with evangelist Chris Byrd, we got to talking about reasons people in our churches have mentioned it’s hard to speak about Christ with people who don’t yet know him. (Chris serves as both evangelist at Grace OPC in Westfield, NJ, and evangelism trainer at Boardwalk Chapel, and will be training our Anchored youth in personal evangelism and prayer at Boardwalk this summer.)
People have a number of reasons why they hesitate to share the gospel. I don’t want you to have the impression that I don’t flounder and fail in these areas myself as well. I’ve felt these obstacles and not testified enough about Jesus because of some of these reasons. Here is a look at the most often shared obstacles.
- Sharing the Gospel Doesn't Feel Natural
- Walking Through a Gospel Presentation Seems Stiff, Formal, and Not Conversational
- I Don’t Know What to Say!
- I Don’t Want to Use Bible Words People Don’t Understand
- We Can’t Share What We Don’t Experience
- Obstacle #1: “It Just Doesn’t Feel Natural” The first and greatest objection I’ve heard to speaking personally with others about Christ is “It just doesn’t feel natural.” Many people have said, “Sharing the Gospel should feelorganic and come up naturally in conversation. I will talk about my sin and need for a Savior with others when the topic naturally comes up.” But in many of our conversations, talking about Christ’s death, resurrection, and the call for repentance and faith can seem to keep slipping away from us. When I face this obstacle I tend to ask, “Why does this not feel natural? What about Christ or His work on the cross seems unnatural to talk about?” In one sense, the cross will always be “foolishness to those who are dying in their sins” (1 Corinthians 1:18), but to us it should become more and more our glory and the only reason we can boast (Galatians 6:14). One way to draw people out is to ask them what they think about right & wrong, sin, death, salvation, and eternal hope. It’s always surprising to me how much people want to talk about these eternal realities once they are asked. After you ask a question and listen for awhile, your turn will come up to explain your answer to this question.
- Obstacle #2: Gospel Presentations Seem too Formulaic This is an objection I held until coming to Harvest. I liked to talk to people about the Gospel, but didn’t want to share a set of points that felt too prepared or like a sales pitch. I was much better with a spontaneous, spur of the moment conversation applying part of the Bible to whatever topic came up. The problem I have found, however, with trying to only take this spontaneous approach, is that I wasn’t always being faithful to and covering certain important points. As I’ve begun some training in the 2 Ways to Live material, I’ve found out how helpful it is to have some mental “hooks” or “transition points” of things I want to make sure I cover in a conversation. I still have the goal of speaking conversationally, but I’m growing in being more intentional about speaking about creation, our fall into sin and desire to rebel against God, Christ’s provision for us and then the decision we all face: either reject or accept him as our personal Savior.
- Obstacle #3: “I Don’t Feel Prepared” Since we moved to West Michigan, I have heard many people say, “I want to share the Gospel with others, I just don’t know what to say.” This can be the flip side of obstacle #2. Instead of fearing the perception of following too much Gospel outline, we can feel frozen until we know precisely which words to share. My goal is to gradually train more and more people in the 2 Ways to Live Gospel presentation and share other resources on personal evangelism, but no matter how much we prepare, we can have a lingering sense that we will never know exactly the right words to say. We should remember that sharing the Gospel with a particular outline or set of points is not what carries God’s spiritual power. The Gospel itself – the Father lovingly giving us his most-loved Son because we were dead in our sins – is the power for salvation. We do need to be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15), but this doesn’t mean we will know everything and have exactly the right words every time. We are going to stumble and not get everything right. This too is OK. The power is in Christ and His Spirit who leads us into all truth (John 16:13-15).
- Obstacle #4: “I Can’t Use Biblical Words or Ideas” This objection is less common in West Michigan, where many of the people we meet have learned Biblical vocabulary. But we still may be too shy to speak with language like “sin,” “condemnation,” “repentance,” “faith,” & everything that Christ has accomplished for us. All these terms are so significant, and while we should be careful to try to explain our terms, there is no way to share the Gospel without using Biblical ideas and words. The Bible is useful for training and correcting in righteousness and is the authority for both Christians and non-Christians alike. Both believer and unbeliever have the law of God written on our hearts and therefore have a strong sense of right and wrong written into our conscience (Romans 2:12-16).
- Obstacle #5: We Can’t Share What We Don’t Experience This final objection isn’t one I’ve heard very often, but I think it is the deepest reason we don’t share Christ with others. We can’t share with others what we ourselves aren’t experiencing. As we’ve been reflecting in the book of Ephesians, Paul doesn’t want Christians to merely know truths about God’s rich grace and deep love for them, he wants them to experience these things. David will challenge our hearts to “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 34:8). Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in 1:17-19 is that we would know our glorious hope, inheritance, and the power that raised Jesus from the dead. These three things should control our love! We don’t have to be afraid of what people will say about us because we have an eternal hope. We don’t need to wonder if people will accept us, because in Christ, we have a secure inheritance. We don’t have to fearfully expect our own failure, because the power for salvation doesn’t depend on us as the messengers, but on the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. It’s this experience that transforms us each day and gives us a faith in a beautiful Savior who is worth sharing.
What Pastor Adrian is reading . . .
The One Year Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids
by Nancy Guthrie
The Complete English Works
by George Herbert