Are we, the American church, ready for that future? Here are some insights I've learned over the years and been taught by people who serve in a post-Christian context;
Christians in post Christian cultures feel inadequate to share their faith. Their fears are largely the same as ours: What if I can’t answer their questions? What if I offend? How do I bring up faith naturally?
Most have a faulty view of evangelism. They either memorize a technique to use on everyone (even though Jesus never spoke the same way to two people) or they are friendly but say little about faith, hoping unbelievers will just somehow catch on.
They forget God’s power and focus on their own inadequacies. Deep down, they tend to assume it’s their expertise that ultimately matters, rather than the presence and power of God.
One Simple Truth
Below are three simple steps when sharing your faith:
1. The Model
One doctrine that shapes our understanding of witness is the incarnation. Jesus shows us how to relate to the world. We must be radically engaged and yet radically different. Jesus also displays the skills we need: being respectful and compassionate, listening, asking questions, and sparking curiosity so people want to hear good news. Effective personal witness begins with authentic relationship.
2. The Message
Expressing Christ’s love is foundational, but God also requires us to bear witness to the truth. How do we faithfully proclaim the gospel in an age that denies absolute truth?
We invite people to take a look at Jesus! People who wouldn’t darken the door of a church are often curious about him.
Why is looking at the person of Jesus in the Gospels so effective? Because he is always a surprise. He’s so radical, so controversial, so beautiful, so different from what people expect. We communicate truth through story, asking questions about Jesus as we study.
3. The Means
We can’t proclaim the good news in our own strength. We need the Holy Spirit’s help. Indeed, our lack of dependence on the Spirit is the most glaring deficiency in the modern Western church. Rediscovering the power of prayer, then, will strengthen us for witness like nothing else.
Jesus did not say, “Go therefore . . . all you extroverts, all you with dynamic relational skills, and all you gifted evangelists . . . and make disciples. The rest of you just hang out, sing some hymns until I return.” Rather, Jesus summons all Christians—regardless of personality type or gifting—to go and make disciples. Not everyone is called to be an evangelist, but all of us are called to be his witnesses.
Effective evangelism must be biblically faithful, culturally relevant, spiritually empowered, and relationally effective—not with formulas or techniques, but with authenticity, credibility, and spiritual power.
In conclusion, all human beings hunger for meaning, worth, and wholeness that can only be found in God. Unbelievers don’t know the reason for their longing, but it’s there. Our job is to help one another gain confidence in Christ and competence in evangelism, even with the most unlikely.