Most people go into paralysis mode at the mere mention of evangelism. People are petrified at the prospect of sharing their faith.
A recent study showed that pastors believe that 90% of their lay people are “evangelism cautious.” And 80% of the pastors say that they themselves are “evangelism cautious”!
Even with all the trendy church talk of being “missional” and “externally focused,” the truth is most people are scared to share their faith. Why is that? Several factors seem to be at work:
• People often imagine evangelism as knocking on strangers’ doors, pointing fingers, and scaring people with threats of an eternity spent in hell.
• Many believe today’s people don’t want to talk about God, so they’re afraid to bring up the subject.
• Many people don’t know what to say.
• Most people are never given the opportunity to practice sharing their faith before they talk with non-believers.
With these obstacles in place, it’s not effective to rail on people to “get out and share your faith.” We need a different approach. One that actually works. I’ve been intrigued to see the response to the faith-sharing training that Lifetree Café provides its volunteers. They’re relieved to discover the natural ways to engage people in spiritual conversations. They feel equipped to ask good “wondering” questions that help people think about spiritual things. They learn the difference between assaulting people with doctrine vs. telling their own stories of living with Jesus. And, they appreciate the chance to practice sharing their God stories—every week.
Evangelism has gotten a bad name. In many cases, rightly so. But we’re living in a time when people desperately need to know God’s love for them. And they’re actually open to hear about it—especially if we talk with them as friends rather than hucksters.