Recently I published an article about the following story
I deleted it as I did not feel good about it and I don’t think God was too thrilled with it either. it made me look like I was against evangelism and I am not. I feel that evangelism is vital to Christianity and a very good spiritual gift to have. That wasn’t my point but I didn’t put my thoughts in the proper words and present them more clearly.
I also used this story
In recent years, studies have shown that only 6% of people who “come forward” at an evangelistic crusade are any different in their beliefs or behavior one year later. Of course, it is estimated that Billy Graham preached to more than 200 million people, and 6% of 200 million is still 12 million. That’s significant.
(I had heard years ago that 5% was the norm for altar call responders who remained committed Christians.) to make my point that we may be over-emphasizing preaching and under-emphasizing other important aspects of the Christian life. As you know I have published several articles on here about evangelism and you know that i feel that there is an imbalance in the Christian church concerning this gift.
And it looks to me like too many Christians are obsessed with evangelism and treat anything else as inferior and not important. I recall one story about a guy who would play racquetball or tennis with some non-christian co-workers and he was asked one day ‘ would he play with them if there was no hope of winning their souls to Christ?’
His answer was distressing and very saddening. it was a solid ‘no’. He only cared about winning their souls and nothing else about them. This illustration so adeptly demonstrates the reason for the unbeliever’s complaint that the believer has no real interest in them. They accuse the believer of only wanting to up the score on their tally sheets. They also liken believers to gunfighters, who add another notch to their gun when a new soul is ‘saved’.
When I add my experience in my old denomination and read stories like the above 9 million link or AIG’s ark encounter, it looks like to me that believers are only interested in preaching the gospel so that Jesus will return and they can get out of here without rolling up their sleeves and doing the hard dirty work that comes with making disciples (the other part of the Great Commission). They simply want to leave this sinful earth and get to heaven regardless of how many souls that could have been retained were left behind.
I feel that the church in general is only doing half the job and again I am just being general here as I know there are good Christians who do the dirty work yet are over-worked and exhausted because the laborers are few. Everyone wants to feel good about their Christian life doing the easy chores and thinking God approves of their efforts, when in reality they are falling short of the task set before them.
Now I am sure that many churches have set up study groups and Sunday school classes to bring their people to a deeper faith and more dedicated involvement but somehow those efforts do not get the press or their news is over-shadowed by stories like the one from the Billy Graham linked above. The lack of news again makes me think that the people of the church are being manipulated and provided mis-information about their faith and involvement in the church.
It also looks to me like the powers that be who run the denominations want their people stuck on square one and hindered from maturing like Paul wrote when he said we need to grow up spiritually. When I left North America, my old denomination was trying to change the morning worship service into a service for unbelievers regardless of the fact that few unbelievers attend any given church service regularly or even on those Sundays where a salvation message is taught.
Again, such a strategy leaves the impression that the church is only after souls and does not care about anyone or their problems. I would rather see all church services and weekly meetings focusing on worship, meeting needs, prayer, and proper instruction so that the people of the church have something to bring their unchurched or unsaved friends to. We need to let the unbeliever see one part of Christian life put into practice instead of being made to be ‘on guard’ and suspicious of the motives of the church congregation.
They need to see that church people have something they do not. They need to see God and his people worshiping him. They need to experience God not be afraid of the person coming to greet and welcome them to the service. The unbeliever needs to see real love, real caring, real justice and mercy as they already get their fill of the false kind in the secular world.
Plus they need to see that God is real and not only in need of money or souls.How the believer treats the unbeliever is how the believer sees God. For the most part, they already know the Bible and do not need it quoted at them in every conversation they hold with a believer. They need to see those scriptures put into action and experience the difference between their deceived world and the one mandated to shine the light on sinful society.
If you want an example from Jesus, I can point to the gospels and point out how Jesus did not stop his healing, feeding, teaching and turn his opportunities to minister and have the people see God into a seeker sensitive moment or hour. If we do Christianity right, evangelism will come and hopefully we can change that retention rate from 5-6% to 50-60% or more.
We need to care for the people honestly. We need to weep when they weep, pitch in when they need help and we need to roll up our sleeves and help them through their difficult trials with family and other people.. Jesus had crowds following him and many believed because HE CARED. We the church need to care more than just worrying about their souls.
We are not going to save everyone so let’s do Christianity and evangelism right so we get quality converts and not those who are easily led astray and recaptured by evil.