The more I learn about evangelism the more I see we have a gospel problem. This problem is on a number of fronts:
1 – It has become culturally unacceptable to share faith – it communicates that you have a way of life that is better than what someone else has chosen.
2 – The gospel is murkier than ever – not that it is in reality…in reality the gospel is simple. However, after years and years of study and nuance it can be very easy to develop an understanding of the gospel that is basically impossible to articulate to anyone new and that hinders our evangelism.
3 – Ministers are not evangelistic. The tremendous reluctance to share one’s faith isn’t just a cultural/generational issue – it cuts across all levels of maturity and all generations and positions in the kingdom. This means people in the pew aren’t finding good models for evangelism among the more spiritually mature. We have equated spiritual maturity with knowledge over faithfulness.
4 – We lack conviction of what it is we really believe – partly because it has been made fuzzy, partly because identity has been linked to a zillion things other than Jesus, and partly because as a whole our society has lacked certainty – it is hard to share a faith you are uncertain about yourself.
There are more than can be shared but I believe these are major headwinds facing the church today. The good news is that all of this can shift in one generation and I believe that is likely to happen!