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I grew up in a home hostile to Christianity and disgusted with evangelism. So when God saved me on Yom Kippur Day, 1993, it was an immediate and drastic life-changer. From the very beginning, God gave me a desire to share Christ with others – anybody – everybody. I couldn’t “not” share Christ. Like Paul in Athens, my spirit was constantly “provoked within [me]” () by the idolatry around me.
Why do we need evangelism? Because there are many people, who, if they die as they are, without Christ, will end up in Hell. That reality motivates me to lovingly warn them of their danger. If I walked by a stranger’s apartment and saw that it was on fire and there were children terrified on the 10th floor, I couldn’t keep walking and say, “Oh, well, they’re not my kids.” No, I’d have a genuine desire to do what I could to help.
Evangelism is a bit different because there’s nothing I can do for someone to be saved. That is God’s work. But God has made it part of His salvation plan to use us. We spread gospel seeds, and God waters them. So I want to spread as many seeds as I can!
I also want to evangelize because I’m a child of God, so I want to value what God values. God values saving lost people. Please see my discussion on Luke, chapter 15 for more on that. Jesus said about Himself that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Vision New England recently published an article called The Religious Landscape that shows the results of a number of highly-reputable polling institutions. The results move me to be even more passionate about sharing with our world, spreading as many gospel seeds as I can, and praying for God to water them.
Barna Research published in 2009:
When we develop our own set of beliefs, that is called idolatry. People need to be lovingly and gently warned about this.
In 2008, Gallup performed a survey of over 355,000 adults asking the question: “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”
The results show that New England is a mission field that is in great need.
In 2008, Kosmin/Keysar published the American Religious Identification Survey showing the change in how New Englanders classify themselves religiously from 1990 to 2008. There’s quite a change!
% of New England population self-identifying as:
Please notice that non-Catholic Christian has dropped 11%, and New Englanders who consider themselves as having no religious beliefs has increased 175%!
In 2008, the Pew Forum published the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. They had similar findings.
Clearly New England is a place that needs Evangelism!
David T. Olsen, with TheAmericanChurch.org, in 2008 published a report entitled Percentage of Population Attending a Christian Church Each Weekend.
% Population Attending a Christian Church ~ 1990
This graph does not discern between Bible-believing churches and others, so these numbers include any church that calls itself “Christian” whether it be Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Roman Catholic, or a Bible-believing Evangelical Church.
% Population Attending a Christian Church ~ 1990 & 2000
After 10 years, the numbers decrease. The blue are the figures from 1990, and the red from 2000.
% Population Attending a Christian Church ~ 1990, 2000, & 2007
As expected, in 2007 the numbers decreased even more. The blue are the figures from 1990, the red from 2000, and the green from 2007.
Any-Christian vs. Bible-Believing Christian ~ 2007
Most staggering is out of all the people who attend any church that labels itself “Christian,” the very small percentage of those who attend a Bible-Believing Church.
So what do we do about this?
According to Barna Research:
80% of Bible-Believing Christian Churches claim evangelism as one of their top 3 priorities. This is great news, because it is through evangelism that God reaches the lost!
Sadly, only 3% of those churches have on-going evangelism that produces adult converts to Christ.
I and convinced by the Scriptures and firmly believe that despite these trends, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (). God still saves people today! And I am all-the-more motivated to share this vital message with the world that needs Jesus so desperately.
I stand committed to go out to were the non-Christians are, and lovingly share the gospel message, whether it be executives eating lunch in the city, or college students on campus, children in their neighborhoods, or all demographics in the Boston subways.
Furthermore, I would love to work with you and your church to help you become part of the 3%! Please see my post entitled Ephesians 4:12 and Our Commitment to the Church.
If this scares you, that’s normal. But love conquers fear, and when we love the lost, then God works through us to reach out to them. I have a friend who defined evangelism as “a nobody who tells everybody about Somebody who can save anybody.”
I agree with Pastor John Piper, who wrote, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever” (John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 11).
When God uses us to save someone who was lost, God turns that person from an enemy of God to a worshipper of God. That’s why it can be said that “Missions exist because worship doesn’t.”
The ultimate goal of reaching the lost is to have God change them from those who are now “alienated [from God] and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21) to those God has graciously “reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present [them] holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:22). What a kind God we have!!!
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:13-15).
“When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest'” (Matthew 9:36-38).
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.'” (Isaiah 6:8).