King James Version (KJV)
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The purpose of the body of Christ (the church) in relation to the world is to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the gospel. Sadly, many believers today experience anxiety when asked to evangelize lost people. After sincere contemplation and many years of experience in ministry I have come to believe that most people are more timid about doing evangelism biblically than they are about actually sharing the gospel with the lost. I think evangelicals must embrace the reality of who they are in Christ and only then will we understand the great privilege we have of introducing others to Him.
Author Darrell W. Robinson describes the priority of evangelism for believers in his book Total Life Church. In it he offers this great reminder: “Evangelism is the outflow of the overflow of the inflow of the Christ-life in a church body.” I think that is a wonderful snapshot version of the responsibility we as Christians bear to share the gospel or evangelize.
According to researcher George Barna, the reason why one out of ten individuals are afraid to witness is the fear of failure. He writes:
“One dominant reason underlying the increasing reluctance of Christians to share their faith with non-Christians pertains to the faith sharing experience itself. In asking Christians about their witnessing activities, we have found that nine out of ten individuals who attempt to explain their beliefs and theology to other people come away from those experiences felling as if they have failed…The reality of human behavior is that most people avoid those activities in which they perceive themselves to be failures. As creatures seeking pleasure and comfort, we emphasize those dimensions and activities in which we are most capable and secure. Thus, despite the divine command to spread the Word, many Christians redirect their energies into areas of spiritual activity that are more satisfying and in which they are more likely to achieve success.”
Too many believers have bought into the fallacy that a successful evangelism encounter necessarily results in leading someone to Christ. If that were true, then Jesus Christ our Lord would be classified as a failure according to modern day critics. We know that He is God, and God cannot fail, therefore, we can conclude that evangelism success is viewed completely differently by our Lord.
So, why don’t Christians evangelize? The simple answer might just be that too many of us are fearing man rather than God. Be encouraged and not fearful. We have a responsibility to obey the Great Commission so just go tell!