Barna Group recently released a 2019 survey about how practicing Christian millennials think about “evangelism.” (sharing one’s faith to another) Though more than 90% of them believe evangelism is an important part of following Jesus and their friends coming to know Jesus would be the best thing they hope to see, almost 50% of them think evangelism is intrusive and even wrong. However, in light of our “emotion-prioritizing” culture today, this is not too surprising.
But the main reason why we encourage our members to take evangelism seriously is for two simple reasons: Jesus commanded us to evangelize (Matthew 28:19-20), and we believe we have good news that needs to be shared.
If you happened to believe that evangelism is forcing something against people’s will, consider this. If taking a pill solved your biggest concern, and you see your friends suffering from the same problem, would you not offer the pill, fearing you might be suggesting something against their will? Or would you offer it anyways? Shoving it to their mouth would be wrong, but inviting them to try is what good friends would do. We see the gospel as that pill that can solve every human’s greatest concern and fear: Life after death. As peaceful as people look, everyone is concerned. They simply delay thinking about it or try to ignore it because it feels disturbingly uncertain.
But even with this approach, I’ve heard some Christians argue that Christians should focus on getting their own lives in order, then people will naturally find God on their timeline.
But I haven’t seen anyone receiving Christ because they saw Christians’ good behaviours. From my observation, if they ever receive Christ, they do so because a Christian invited them to hear the gospel and helped them make a decision. After they received Christ, they often wonder why their Christian friends kept such good news from them all this time.
But Christian Evangelism indeed used to be somewhat intrusive. Street-evangelism (handing out Christian tract or preaching on the microphone to any passerby) is one of the examples. It used to be effective. Many great leaders I know, became Christian because a total stranger handed them a tract or bible that revealed the gospel to them. But this type of evangelism doesn’t work anymore in the modern-day, because of heightened suspicion toward religion.
That is why our approach to evangelism is “relational evangelism” through house church. We are inviting non-Christians, not to believe in anything but to experience the love of God demonstrated in a family-like house church. But it still requires an invitation. And that invitation is the most important and courageous step in evangelism.