Friday, March 20, 2015

Top reasons Christians do not evangelize. - from Thom Ranier

From Thom Ranier:

I recently conducted an informal Twitter poll and asked what keeps Christians from evangelizing. The results were overwhelming and led to a blog post that generated quite a discussion. Today, we go deeper into that post and the comments that came from it.
Some highlights from today’s episode include:
  • For those in ministry, you have to be intentional about having relationships with non-Christians.
  • Evangelism is an intentional effort.
  • Inviting people to church should not be the totality of our personal evangelism strategy.
  • Evangelism is not solely the role of pastors and church staff. It is the role of all Christians.
  • The problem of unregenerate membership is significant in our churches.
  • It is a sin to be good when God has called us to be great.
The main reasons Christians do not evangelize are:
  1. Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people.
  2. Many Christians and church members do not befriend and spend time with lost persons.
  3. Many Christians and church members are lazy and apathetic.
  4. We are more known for what we are against than what we are for.
  5. Our churches have an ineffective evangelistic strategy of “you come” rather than “we go.”
  6. Many church members think that evangelism is the role of the pastor and paid staff.
  7. Church membership today is more about getting my needs met rather than reaching the lost.
  8. Church members are in a retreat mode as culture becomes more worldly and unbiblical.
  9. Many church members don’t really believe that Christ is the only way of salvation.
  10. Our churches are no longer houses of prayer equipped to reach the lost.
  11. Churches have lost their focus on making disciples who will thus be equipped and motivated to reach the lost.
  12. Christians do not want to share the truth of the gospel for fear they will offend others. Political correctness is too commonplace even among Christians.
  13. Most churches have unregenerate members who have not received Christ themselves.
  14. Our churches have too many activities; they are too busy to do the things that really matter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

3 Lessons from Acts 8

The eighth chapter is a key part of the book of Acts. It begins by telling us about the radical changes that came to the believers in Jerusalem when an onslaught of persecution rained down on them. It was a very important transition for the mother church, with powerful effects and important lessons for believers in our time.
The program Jesus left for His followers as He prepared to leave them is stated in Acts 1:8:
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.
Chapters one through seven tell us about the phenomenal success the Christians had in evangelizing the city of Jerusalem in the power of the Spirit. They “filled Jerusalem” with the gospel of Christ (see Acts 5:27–29). But in the first months of the new era, little was done about the rest of the program of Acts 1:8. Nobody was spreading the gospel to the rest of Judaea, or to Samaria, and certainly not to “the uttermost part of the earth.” Then persecution scattered the church members away from the city, and they “went every where preaching the word.”
This record gives us insight into what we should be doing now in our dark times, in the face of harsh criticism of the things we believe and declining respect for the morals and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated preaching in Acts 8:4 means (and looks like) evangelizing, which is spreading the gospel. We should go everywhere evangelizing. It should be happening today everywhere Christians live. We ought to be on the offensive spiritually—not cowering in fear.
I have seen believers active in obeying the Lord’s command to evangelize, and it is a wonderful sight to behold! I have seen groups of excited teenagers combing a neighborhood to find people they can tell about Jesus. I have seen revived preachers pairing up to evangelize door-to-door in connection with a revival conference. I have witnessed people preaching on the streets and giving out gospel literature in public places. I have known of dedicated disciples giving a witness to somebody every day. And I have lived in a time when Bible-believing churches were given to winning everybody to Christ they could. The truth is that another explosion of evangelism among God’s people is needed right now!


In a way, the breakup of the church in Acts 8:1 comes as a surprise to the reader of the book. As the people moved ahead with the evangelization of the city, things were not easy, but they just kept going in spite of difficulties. The persecution that began in chapter 4 was met by a prayer meeting that produced “great” things: “great power” in the preaching of the apostles (verses 31–33); “great grace” in the relationships of the churchmembers (verse 33); and “great fear” (verses 5 and 11 through 14) in the handling of sin in the church which created a mysterious attraction to the light of the gospel. And the evangelism went on.
But when the “great persecution” arose against the Jerusalem church, the congregation was basically obliterated! And the reader of Acts is taken by surprise.
However we should not be surprised at this. When Jesus spoke about the characteristics of the New Testament era, He promised not only wonderful blessings, but also persecution (review John 14 through 16).
These things have I spoken unto you that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.—John 16:1–2
When the Spirit of Christ dwells in men, and is seen in them, those in the world who love Him will love them, and those who hate Him will hate them (look over John 15:18–25). It is to be expected.
But something else was going on here. It is interesting to compare Acts 8:1 with Acts 1:8. Of course Acts 1:8 outlines the program the Christians were supposed to be following. Remember that it called on them to, “Be witnesses unto me [Christ] both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
So far the church, under the leadership of the apostles, had only gotten to the first stage of the program: witnessing to Jerusalem. But then Acts 8:1 says that the “great persecution against the church” forced them out to“the regions of Judaea and Samaria.” God was breaking up the church in order to fulfill His larger program.
The Greek word for “scattered abroad” in verse one has to do with what a farmer does when he sows seed. The parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24–30 begins with “a man which sowed good seed in his field.” In the Lord’s explanation of the parable, found in Matthew 13:36–43, He tells us, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom.” In Acts 8 the Son of man was scattering good seed to places it was needed.
It is important for us to notice in Scripture that even the church is the means to an end. It is not the end itself. It is the means for God to implement Acts 1:8. And He was willing to blow up the Jerusalem church in order to get on with His program.
Strangely, the only ones in the church that were not “scattered abroad” were “the apostles.” The title apostle means “a sent one” and corresponds to our English word missionary. All the churchmembers were pushed out to Judaea and Samaria (according to the divine program), and went about evangelizing everywhere, “except the apostles.” The called and gifted missionaries were the only ones who didn’t go! Our ministries are not ends in themselves. People with gifts to minister to the church are not exempt from evangelizing. The apostles were wrong to put the brakes on the Acts1:8 program, and God moved to work it without them, at least for a while.


It is understandable that the Christians neglected reaching out to the regions beyond the city when the local church was doing so well; but it was wrong. The charter of the church is to evangelize the whole world! It is also understandable for Christians to seek shelter when under attack, rather than to take the battle to the enemy, but this would also be wrong.
When the followers of Jesus stop evangelizing, the devil has already won, at least for the time being. His goal is that we stop telling the gospel, or that sin in our lives robs our attempts at evangelization of divine blessing and power. When the Jerusalem believers were attacked, they “went every where preaching the word.”
Look at what was happening! “There was a great persecution against the church” (verse 1). “Devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him” (verse 2). “Saul…made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling [hauling] men and women committed them to prison” (verse 3). But neither the persecution by fanatics, nor the wails of fellow Christians mourning the wicked murder of a very good man, nor the daily arrest and incarceration of godly men and even women, disheartened the followers of the Lord to the degree that they stopped spreading the gospel!
The trends and events of our times suggest that a new wave of persecution against Christians is on its way. The horrible mistreatment, imprisonment, and murder of Christian believers in communist and Muslim countries will soon be joined by the persecution and prosecution of Christians in western countries for refusing to comply with government insistence on approval of same-sex marriage, homosexual practices, and the abortion culture. But it is no time for the disciples of the Lord to cower or hide. It is time that they take to the streets.
Some have suggested that the shocking insults and threats against traditional American values in the last year might bring conservatives into the streets, not in violence (we would expect and certainly hope), but in public protest of the violations of the United States Constitution and of simple ethics by the highest authorities of the federal government. However, a more effective countermeasure to the rise of evil in these days would be intensive evangelism by Christians in the cities and villages and rural areas of the land. Let us rise to the occasion, and face the foe by evangelizing everywhere, starting today!


One very clear teaching of the book of Acts is that Christians can keep on obeying God under any circumstance. When the apostles were warned against continuing to evangelize Jerusalem, they told the authorities, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Then they reminded the members of the council that God had given the Holy Ghost to “them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).
Behind His commands, God puts His power. We can evangelize everywhere if we will do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Ruler of the universe will make a way, and the Lord of the harvest will bless our efforts. It is time for a renewal of New Testament Christianity in the churches that will set us to evangelizing. It is time for each Christian to ask the Lord for a revival in His own life that will make him a light in a dark place, a fiery witness for Jesus Christ!


How many times while witnessing have you heard someone say to you, “I’ve always been a Christian”? How did you respond to that statement? Based upon God’s Word, I am sure we would both agree that nobody has always been a Christian. We must be careful, though, to not offend that person, because once we do, we lose the opportunity to continue our witness.
This is a very important intersection in the process of leading someone to Jesus Christ. How we answer this statement will determine whether or not the person will allow us to further our conversation about the gospel. I hope the following ideas will sharpen you and help you bear more fruit in your witnessing.
1. Realize the person truly believes he has been a Christian his whole life.
This belief might stem from growing up in church. Now I know you understand that attending church does not make someone a Christian, but he does not.
2. Receive his answer and begin your conversation at the starting point of the gospel.
Keep in mind that just because he has given you a different answer from what we believe, and more importantly from what the Bible teaches, does not mean he is disinterested in the gospel.
3. Reveal what the Scriptures say about being born again.
I have found it helpful to begin in John three, where Jesus begins to reveal Himself to Nicodemus. Let’s look at a few truths that will help someone understand his misconception about being a Christian.
First, Jesus clearly declares, “A man must be born again.” I believe that Jesus was very straightforward with Nicodemus because he was one of the religious leaders of the day. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in how strong you make this point. There are situations when you will want to emphasis this truth very boldly, and other times you will want to be more gentle . Remember, your goal is not to offend, but to lead him to Jesus Christ. It is interesting that Nicodemus had no clue what Jesus meant by the statement, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Second, Jesus begins to illustrate this truth by using the analogy of the birth of a baby. Each child has a birth date; one hasn’t always been a child. I am sure every mother remembers the particular day—the moment when her child came into this world. Just as a child has a birth date, a person must have a specific moment spiritually when he realizes his need for forgiveness and asks Jesus Christ to be his Saviour.
Just as there was a definite time when he was born into this world; to become a Christian he must have a specific time and place when he accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour—when he is spiritually born again.
Third, receive his questions with an open heart. The whole idea of biblical salvation is most likely a new concept for him. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in his life as you share the Scriptures with him.
May the Lord guide you and use you to lead many lost souls to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What most people have forgotten - Dr. Paul Chappell

People do not trust Christ as their Saviour by reading our critiques of evangelism strategies.
Nor do they get saved in response to discussions about our busy schedules.
They don’t even respond to the Gospel through our clearly articulated articles and blogs on the issues or preferences we have in relation to other ministries’ issues or preferences.
This may surprise you…but people trust Christ as their Saviour when we personally share the Gospel with them.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?—Romans 10:14
Soulwinning and evangelism are discussed frequently, but I find that they are practiced infrequently. Today, people like to philosophize and theorize on why it is important and how it should be done and how others are doing it wrong. But we need to get back to the main thing—the central mission of the church—and personally share the Gospel with those who do not know Christ.
The first word of Christ’s Great Commission is an important one—“Go.”
If we neglect to go, there will be some who will never hear the Gospel, and we will be in direct disobedience to Jesus Christ.
Who can you witness to this week? And when will you do it?
This article was originally posted on the Pastor’s Perspective.
October 29, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Personal Evangelism - Ouellette

Personal Evangelism

Dr. R.B. Ouellette
There are those who would tell us that evangelism is a gift—some Christians may have it, and others do not. Yet neither Romans 12 or 1 Corinthians 12 list evangelism among the spiritual gifts. The office of the evangelist is mentioned in Ephesians 4, however, this is not a listing of spiritual gifts, but of gifted persons. The reason for the omission among the spiritual gifts is simple. God gave His command to every believer to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:19–20). How can we personally and effectively share this Gospel?

Follow the Scripture’s Model

In many of our churches, it has become common to go soulwinning at a particular time each week. I think it is wonderful to have a definite, scheduled time to go out and give the Gospel to people. I believe that if we don’t schedule a soulwinning time, many of us are not likely to go. Just as we have a time to read our Bible and a time to pray, we should have a time to go soulwinning. However, we have not completed our mission or obeyed God’s command when we have gone an hour and a half each week. Remember, the commandment is that the Gospel is to be given to “every creature.” Please note these examples from the lives of our Lord and His disciples.
Their soulwinning was personal. Though the Lord Jesus addressed crowds on many occasions, He also spoke individually to the woman at the well, to Zacchaeus, to the man who was blind from birth, and to a host of others.
While the early Christians were personal in their witnessing, it did not limit the scope of their soulwinning. Look at how the Bible describes their witness, “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).
“…ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine…” (Acts 5:28). Paul said, “…I am pure from the blood of all men” (Acts 20:26).
While I have had the privilege to win people to Christ out soulwinning many times, some of my most wonderful experiences have not been during a scheduled “soulwinning time.” I’ve led people to Christ on airplanes, in restaurants, in the line at a grocery store, across the counter in a motel, and in hospital lobbies. Wherever there are people, there are people who need to hear the Gospel.

Listen to the Holy Spirit

While we are commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature, we must always be led by the Spirit in the way that we approach them. It is interesting to note how the Lord Jesus used the conversation about a well to turn a woman to Christ. The Apostle Paul used a statue to an unknown God to tell people of the true and living God and His Son, Jesus. Stephen gave a complete lecture on Hebrew history before making the Gospel application which so angered his persecutors that they picked up rocks and began to stone him. Each approach was different. Each approach was led by the Holy Spirit.
Just a few months after I had come to First Baptist of Bridgeport, I was feeling a bit frazzled with all I had to do. I needed to work on a Sunday morning sermon, a Sunday evening sermon, a Wednesday Bible study, a Bible school lesson and a Bible school skit. I asked the Lord which one of these I should work on next. The answer I got was, “Go visit John Bailey.”
Now, I had given a multiple-choice question to the Lord and He had answered as if it were a fill-in-the-blank! When I had visited Mr. Bailey just a couple of weeks before, he was kind, but he had made it clear that he had studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and was not interested in trusting Christ as his Saviour. As I reluctantly drove to his home in response to God’s fill-in-the-blank answer, I remember thinking, “What do I say to a guy to whom I’ve just given the Gospel a couple of weeks earlier?” I came up with an extremely clever approach.
When he answered the door, I said, “Hi, have you thought any more about getting saved?” (See how subtle and smooth I was?)
To my surprise, he answered “Yes, I have.”
That day, John Bailey not only got saved, but he became a faithful member of our church and his was the first wedding I performed.

Spread the Seed Everywhere

At first, it might have seemed that witnessing to John Bailey wouldn’t come to anything. But as we learn from Jesus in the Parable of the Sower in Mark chapter four, our responsibility is to spread the seed of the Word everywhere. Some were sown on the hardened path were people walked. Some were on shallow ground with only a few inches of soil covering rocks. Some were on thorny ground and some on good ground.
This distribution can seem inefficient. Why would the Lord want us to waste seed in places where it seems obvious that fruit cannot come? Because He wants everyone to hear the Gospel. In addition to that, we may not be as much of an expert at determining what the condition of the soil is as we think. Many with hardened exteriors have hungry hearts. That’s why we ought to give a tract to every person we can; to speak to every person we have the opportunity to, and not to disqualify anyone in our mind. Despite falling on several types of grounds which did not yield fruit, some did. “And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mark 4:8).
We plant, others water, but God gives the increase.
I am often reminded of a story that I heard Dr. Ford Porter, the author of God’s Simple Plan of Salvation, tell when I was a young man. He had ridden his bicycle to a bus stop and was passing out Gospel tracts. He began a conversation with a man on the bus. The man was interested and was listening to the Gospel but the bus was pulling away. As clearly as he could in a limited time, Dr. Porter explained the Gospel to this man and led him to Christ. He even rode his bicycle along the bus for a short time as it pulled away from the stop. Later on, someone said, “Ford, don’t tell that story. No one will believe it.” After all, the time was short, the conversation was rushed, and though Dr. Porter did the very best he could in the time allotted, it wasn’t what we would call a thorough presentation of the Gospel.
A few months later, Ford Porter was at the same street corner, this time without his bicycle, passing out tracts and trying to win people to Christ. He asked a passerby if he was on his way to Heaven and the man said, “Yes.”
“Wonderful,” said Dr. Porter. “When did you get saved?”
“Well,” he said, “A couple of months ago, I was riding a bus and a man on a bicycle came by and gave me a Gospel tract.” Let us give as much Gospel as we can to everybody we can and trust God, by His Spirit, to bring forth fruit.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fruitful Follow-up from Dr. R.B.Ouellette

The Pastor's Toolbox: Fruitful Follow-Up

Dr. R.B. Ouellette
While we all wish to give the Gospel to everyone we can, most of us are burdened to see more of our converts come to church. Here are a couple of simple thoughts that I’ve found helpful in this endeavor.

What to Say after Salvation.

I observed years ago an interesting phenomenon. After someone accepted Christ, I would begin to encourage him to get baptized, read the Bible, and attend church. When I did, the entire atmosphere changed. Up until this point, I had been trying to do something for the individual. Now it seemed to them I was trying to get something from him. So I learned a very helpful technique to avoid them feeling pressured:
After a person has trusted Christ, and I have explained assurance of salvation to them, I say something like this: “I’m so glad you’ve trusted Christ. It is the most important decision you will ever make. I have seen people who make this decision have wonderful blessings in their lives. I have seen others with not such obvious results. The difference is in what they did with what God gave them. On a scale of one to ten, where would you like to be in your Christian life six months from now?” (Most people will answer somewhere in the seven to ten range.)
I then say, “That’s great. Would you mind if I shared a few thoughts to help you reach your goal of being an eight in your Christian life six months from now?”
Notice what changed. I am now giving them instruction by permission in order to help them reach their goal. Then I share with them the importance of reading the Bible, praying, attending church and letting others know they have trusted Christ.

Building Relationships through Indefinite Follow-Up.

One of the best pieces of advice Dr. Chappell and others have given for soulwinners is to keep an active prospect list. This is a list of ten to twenty people who need to be saved, baptized, or join the church. I have found that if I contact them each week trying to get them to church, I’m back to the same dynamic I mentioned earlier—getting them to do something for me. Because of this, I have taken a different approach.
When I call them, I ask if I can pray for any needs they have. I keep their requests on my prayer list. When I go back the next week, I ask if there is anything else for which I can pray. You would be shocked how many times people will say at this point, “Well, just pray that we get in church!” It is much more powerful when they tell me they need to be in church than when I tell them they need to come.
It is important to keep this relationship with new Christians for an indefinite period of time. Some may not come for months or even years. As long as there seems to be a good reception, continue to contact them until they come.