I Am The 85%
I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for 12 and a half years now. I have been teaching in the local church for a decade. Reflecting on that time I noticed that I have taught more classes on evangelism than any other topic.
And it's not even close.
Evangelism has been on my heart ever since the moment of my salvation. The reason for that was not due to sound theological reasoning. It is not because of a great class I took. It was certainly not because I saw it modeled by the majority of other believers.
It's because I am part of the 85%.
I have heard recently that only 15% of those who come to follow Christ do so as a result of being evangelized at an event. Church services, evangelism rallies, and other events do work in peoples lives. People are converted. But this is not where the majority of conversions occur.
The other 85% come to Christ through personal witness. This is when a believer takes the initiative and shares the gospel with a non-believer in their life.
I got saved because a believer loved me enough to tell me the gospel. Even though I was abusing her, mocking her, and making fun of her. She told me the truth. Then she kept praying for me after our conversation ended.
When my heart was changed I was standing alone, in the middle of a rainstorm, smoking a cigarette and watching the sky. I was born again that night because someone in my life shared the gospel faithfully with me.
I immediately wanted everyone I knew to find life and peace with God through Christ, too. So I started telling everyone.
They were not excited to hear.
The more time I spent in church, the less people I encountered who shared the gospel consistently and faithfully. Most simply invited people to events and hoped that people would eventually give their life to Christ through the proclamation of others.
I questioned my own drive to evangelize, especially since so many experienced Christians (less than 2% on some estimates) neglect the command to evangelize, wondering if I was misguided. However, reading the Word of God continued to resound with our responsibility to proclaim His excellencies since He has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
So I started teaching classes on evangelism.
Over the years, I have taught a lot of different classes on personal evangelism. I've examined a lot of materials and approaches.
Some are excellent.
Others, not so much.
Some are downright ridiculous.
However, I have also noticed that something is even more important than the methods. That's having the right leadership. Without the right leadership evangelism can tend to ebb and flow.
I have taught many groups and individuals to evangelize. Sadly, many of these groups waned over time. Not all, but many. By far the group that endured the longest wasn't a group that I taught myself but a group that was taught by another - someone who was dedicated to remaining with all who were equipped and who didn't have to turn his attention to any other topics like I did in my pastoral ministry.
When the right leadership and the right methods are employed, the body of Christ is capable of proclaiming the gospel far and wide.
As I reflect on the past 10 years, I am so thankful that the Lord has worked to show me the importance of the dedicated leadership that Christ has given for the edification and equipping of His church. I am also thankful for the many resources that are available to train and equip the saints for the important work of evangelism.
I plan to write some reviews of evangelism methods and resources in 2017. I am open to any suggestions that you may have to evaluate teachings and/or methods that you know of or think would be an encouragement to the body to grow in faithfulness to the Great Commission.
The world is perishing, but there is good news! God has sent a Savior so that all who come to Him can be saved from the wrath they deserve on Judgment Day!
For those of us who are saved by the blood of the Lamb and who walk in newness of life - let us not be ashamed of our glorious Lord and Savior. Let's tell the world that Jesus saves.