Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why Don't We Share the Gospel?

So we’ve talked about the nature of the Gospel, and we all know that we should be out there sharing it. So the question is, why aren’t we?

One common reason people give for not sharing the gospel is that they don’t know what to say. You do know the basics, but it can still be difficult to put it also into a coherent presentation. What can we do about that?

The best thing you can do is to learn a good gospel presentation – memorize it – and then practice it. A very effective way to do that is by going through a training program like Evangelism Explosion. EE and programs like it will teach you a gospel presentation complete with appropriate verses and illustrations, and then they will take you out and make you practice it on real people. Presenting the gospel is something you cannot learn purely from a book – you’ve got to get out there and do it. A training program will send you out with someone who’s experienced at sharing the gospel, and you’ll go through the traditional mentorship pattern – watch them, help them, they help you, then they watch you. By the end you should be comfortable with the gospel presentation and how to steer conversations toward spiritual matters.

You don’t have to go through a formal program, but they are very helpful – especially when they give you hands-on training with someone watching over your shoulder. But if that’s not for you, you can still learn a good gospel presentation and practice it. But the key is practice – you’re highly unlikely to read a presentation out of a book and go right out and witness to people.

Besides not knowing what to say, many times people are just scared. This is another place that an evangelism training program can help. Knowing a good presentation and practicing with it can make you confident in your ability to share the gospel.

But a lot of times we’re just embarrassed. It’s a sad part of our sin nature that we’re embarrassed of the gospel. Generally we’re a bit ashamed of that embarrassment – and we should be. If a person’s house were on fire, we wouldn’t be embarrassed to let them know, but when the danger is to their immortal soul, we turn yellow. We should shame ourselves over that embarrassment and focus on the price Christ Jesus paid for us and the danger that they’re in. And then you just have to suck it up and do it.

Every hour 5,417 go to meet their Maker. Blatant emotional manipulation? Yep. I’m going to be totally shameless about this – we have to take their plight personally, or we will let fear or self-centeredness keep us from giving them what they need.

But what if you’ve got a reason to be embarrassed? What if you’re ashamed of the life you’ve led? That’s why we started this out talking about godliness. But if you’ve made mistakes, the best thing to do is confess those mistakes, change your ways, and move on. And if they ask, remind them that we’re not perfect, but we’re striving to be more like Jesus.

A lot of people are afraid to share the gospel because they’re afraid they’ll mess it up. The truth is, you probably will every now and then – especially at first. But God can still use that. That doesn’t mean you can tell them the wrong gospel, but if you mess up the right one, the Spirit is still there.

The story’s told that a woman criticized D.L. Moody for his methods of attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody replied, “I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?” The woman replied, “I don’t do it.” Moody retorted, “Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.” It’s far better to do it badly than to not do it.

So what if they ask you a question that you can’t answer? Later we’re going to talk about preparing for those questions, but someone will probably ask you something you can’t answer. That’s ok! “I don’t know but I’ll find out” is a perfectly acceptable answer. If you’re not sure you’ll ever see them again (maybe you’re at an airport or something), tell them where they might be able to find out – a book or website or something.

What if they don’t believe in God or don’t believe in the Bible or something? Again, that’s something we’ll get into later, but let’s just say that sometimes you may have to do a little apologetics as pre-evangelism.

Realistically, we’re all going to miss opportunities. That’s just part of human nature. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about doing better than you did yesterday.

Next time I'm going to share my standard gospel presentation.