By now it is universally accepted that people–especially young adults--are leaving the church in masses. One reason, it seems, is because Christians are perceived as non-authentic and present their faith like a sales pitch when trying to converse with non-believers.
How did we acquire this image of pushy evangelism?
First we believe that the best evangelism efforts are those that reach the most people at once. But the truth is that the most effective efforts in sharing one’s faith is relationship based. Second, we believe that anything that brings people to Christ is worth doing, but the reality is that mass evangelism brings a great deal of negative opinions about Christianity. Third, we believe that it doesn’t matter if we offend someone, that as long as they receive the message… that’s what’s important. And actually, to make disciples doesn’t give us carte blanche license to offend other people. Fourth, we believe that most people embrace logical arguments, when in truth, for most people, their experiential outlook on life guides their spiritual pursuits. Fifth, we believe that everyone has an equal chance of becoming a Christian, but statistics show that adults have a much harder time with converting to Christianity. And, finally, we think that if we just connect someone to God they will automatically get it, where most non-Christians feel brainwashed or manipulated if they are pushed into a spiritual commitment.
One way we can overcome many of these traps is by focusing on spiritual formation. Worshiping God intimately; having real spiritual friendships with other believers; building faith in the family; having intentional forms of spiritual growth; serving others; investing time in spiritual activities; having faith-based discussions with non-believers. All this leads to having clear outcomes in mind. Being taught to think through issues, produces lasting faith. Loving people sacrificially shows commitment to others’ lives. Listening to others and what they experience in their lives makes us better and more productive tools of God; ones that can carry out His purposes; Because spiritual transformation is a process, a journey, not a one-time decision. Evangelism transformation changes spiritual effectiveness. Christianity then becomes genuine, dynamic and real. Cultivating relationships works in humble and respectful ways to transform the entire culture. We’ve got to want to get to know and be a vital part of others’ lives in order to be effective in their beliefs. How can we change the way we are doing things?
Question: What are some concrete ways that we are guilty of evangelizing just to gain body count? What are some practical ways that we can cultivate relationships with those not of the Christian faith?