Effective evangelism for the 21st century: Is it still possible?
Evangelism is the outflow of hearts that are filled with the love of God for those who do not yet know him. We confess with shame that there are still very many peoples in the world who have never yet heard the message of God’s love in Jesus Christ. We renew the commitment that has inspired the Lausanne Movement from its beginning, to use every means possible to reach all peoples with the gospel. The Cape Town Commitment I-7, I-10
Christians have been given the joyful command to share the gospel; a gospel that has the power to transform lives and our battered planet! Yet most Christians feel inadequate when it comes to sharing their faith.
Ministers in the Western church report that they don’t know how to motivate the ‘unfaithful faithful’ sitting in the pews each Sunday, to share the Good News of Jesus. How to equip the churches to become inwardly strong yet outwardly focused with people who are ablaze with the love of Jesus and who desire to share the Good News—that is part of the Western challenge.
While there has been a phenomenal explosion of growth in the global South, Christian leaders from Africa, Latin America, and Asia have also expressed concern over what is the gospel that is being preached. Is it orthodoxy or is it a diminished version of the true gospel?
The issues concerning evangelism vary around the world. While it is of upmost importance that we demonstrate the application of the gospel in all areas of life including its injustices, what often seems to be overlooked is equipping Christians in how to share their faith. Helping believers live the reality of the gospel in all forms (being, speaking, and doing) in ways that are culturally relevant, biblically faithful, and contextually sensitive—that is our global challenge.
Towards this end the Lausanne Evangelism Training issue network offers tools and training that help believers to be biblically sound yet culturally sensitive.
Personal evangelism training: Without having confidence in our personal witness, we will see evangelism as ‘events’ to which we invite our unbelieving friends to come and hear the ‘experts’. The greatest motivator for sharing our faith comes from understanding the nature and character of God because our theology impacts our methodology. Evangelism isn’t having self-confidence, but having God-confidence!
Small group evangelism through seeker Bible study training: Apart from developing friendships with non-Christians, inviting them to look at Jesus through inductive Bible studies is the greatest shortcut to evangelism. We have seen remarkable fruit around the world, most dramatically in the past few years in Europe, with believers inviting their seeker friends to look at Jesus.
Large group proclamation evangelism: We must think strategically about evangelism. To offer evangelism training without helping Christians see the vital importance of follow-up through an evangelistic mission is a great disservice. No matter how small we start, it is important to learn how to do proclamation evangelism that is creative, contextually sensitive, and relevant. See more at the Lausanne Proclamation Evangelism issue network page.
The Lausanne Movement connects influencers and ideas for global mission, with a vision of the gospel for every person, an evangelical church for every people, Christ-like leaders for every church, and kingdom impact in every sphere of society. Learn about our beginnings, ongoing connections, and mission today. Learn More