Saturday, April 12, 2008

How to Stop Evangelism

Gary & his students in Asia
This may seen like a strange topic for an Evangelical Minister but I am struck with how few of us do any outreach to the unchurched. The Bible is clear that Cristian's are called to reach out to their neighbors and friends but so very few do so. There must be a reason.
There are almost 900,000 Seasoned Citizens who live around Greater Cincinnati and about 2/3 of them are unchurched. That means that there are 600,000 people our age who are staying away from Christianity on a regular basis. Despite this fact, there is almost no effort by churches or active members to bring them to worship or Bible study. There must be a reason.

Thom Rainier, a Southern Baptist expert in evangelism, says that many of our age wave group are waiting to be asked. His research indicates that many people are thinking about returning to a church but are waiting on an invitation from a friend that never comes.

Several Seasoned Believers have told me of their attempts to start an outreach to invite people to Christ. Most were rebuffed by church officials. I suppose they have a good reason to stop outreach programs, but I cannot imagine what it is.

Maybe new people are too messy. New people, especially those who are not yet trained in "Church Language and Norms" are very messy. They may use bad language or not know the most important factors about Jesus such as the fact that He was a capitalist. And, many are sick, tired, poor and needy. If they all showed up what would the church do?

Maybe the leaders would be uncomfortable if these folks came so they let everyone in the church know that hurting people are not welcome. And, of course, unBelievers in Jesus, will definitely feel out of place and most will never return, so why invite them.

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