As I interact with people at E2E training events and in churches I've begun to realize that there are a number of identifiable reasons that Christians are not sharing the good news of Jesus with friends, family members and strangers.
We aren't Christians.
Sometimes as we are talking with someone who calls themselves a Christian it becomes clear that they aren't. They are what Dean Inserra calls a "cultural Christian" and while they identify as a Christian in word, it is more so as a default. They aren't an atheist or a Muslim and their family went to church occasionally as a child so they must be a Christian.
But they aren't trusting Jesus for anything really, let alone salvation. And of course they are not sharing the gospel with anyone. So while they may be offended by the notion, we need to share the gospel with them.
[check out Dean's new book, "The Unsaved Christian."]
We don't know that sharing the gospel is required.
There are others we will run into who genuinely trust in Jesus. They have repented and believed. But somewhere along the lines, they were not discipled into the word or into the knowledge of their role in this world as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), witnesses (Acts 1:8) or disciple making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is a disciple making issue and we can quickly help them discover the joy of their job to share the love and truth of Jesus with others by taking them into the word of God.
We feel unqualified.
Another challenge we often run into is a sense they are not qualified to share the gospel with others. It's as if they've somehow been trained to believe that sharing the gospel is something that experts do - and they aren't an expert.
This too is a disciple making issue and can be overcome by having this friend turn with us to Luke 8:26-39, the story of Jesus' encounter with the Geresenes demoniac. When finished re-read verses 38-39. This man begs to go with Jesus but Jesus "sent him away saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him."
Does your Christian friend know more than the man in this story?
This man knows exactly one thing - the before and after story of his encounter with Jesus! No Bible training. No discipleship programs. no Sunday school classes. Not even a Bible in his hands.
After encouraging Christian friends with this story I have them write "I AM QUALIFIED" in the margin of their Bible next to this story as a reminder.
We are afraid.
Another common factor that we all run into is fear. I know of no one who doesn't at times face fear and respond by running away. We know we should have that conversation with our family member or co-worker. We feel the nudge to say something to the stranger behind the counter. But fear creeps in and paralyzes us and we move on without saying anything. "Next time" we think, but next time the same thing happens.
How do we help our Christian friends overcome fear?
These are just a few ideas of how we can help our friends overcome their fear of sharing the gospel.
We don't know how.
Too often, fear comes from feeling unprepared. Many just don't know what to say or how to transition to a gospel conversation. It's not really their fault. If someone asked me to go out and change the alternator on my car, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I think it's under the hood?
We have to take the time to equip our friends with simple tools so that they understand who to share with and know what to actually share. At E2E events we spend one whole morning equipping everyone to identify their relational networks (who to share with) and training them with lots of practice and repetitions to share their 15 second testimony and to share a simple gospel presentation called 3 Circles (what to share).
These are not the end all and be all of sharing the gospel but they will equip Christians to begin to share the gospel boldly and abundantly.
We are just disobeying Jesus.
When it comes to the end of the day, our heart at E2E is to ensure that the only reason that Christians are not sharing the gospel is that they are just plain disobeying Jesus. We want to make sure that no one we connect with has any excuse. We want to see everyone everywhere equipped, trained and discipled into a life of sharing the good news of our Lord with anyone, anywhere, any time!
And if you'd like to hear some of these ideas through a little different - and much more powerful lens, find an hour to listen to Dawson Trotman's sermon, Born to Reproduce.
Dawson Trotman - Born to Reproduce [Listen Now]
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