Common Barriers To Evangelism & How To Overcome Them – Part 2
In continuation with the PREVIOUS POST on the same topic, here are more common barriers to evangelism.
11. I DON’T WANT TO FORCE ANYBODY INTO BELIEVING WHAT I BELIEVE.
Telling the truth is not forcing people! We cannot [and should not!] force anybody to believe—only the Lord opens the hearts of people.
When we have a disease and have found a good cure for it, we rush to tell others who have the same condition about the treatment. Why? Because we care for them! In the same way, all humans are hit with the “sin-bug.” And Jesus is the only cure for this deadly disease. Should we not tell them this good news?
Statements such as “I will keep my faith to myself…If somebody asks, then I will tell them,” etc., while it may sound very culturally acceptable, are not biblical. Christians must keep the faith—but not to themselves!
2 Corinthians 5:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
If we genuinely believe that those without Christ will suffer for all eternity, we will plead with them to come to Christ.
12. I CAN WITNESS ONLY TO PEOPLE OF MY CULTURE.
While it may be easier to reach out to people of our culture, since we can identify more easily with their ways and habits, we should not limit our evangelism to a particular culture alone. The command is to take the gospel to every creature! Everyone needs Christ.
Luke 24:47 “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
God has a reason for placing people of different cultures in our paths—it is not by accident. He wants us to proclaim the truth to them, irrespective of their cultural background [e.g., Philip to Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8:26-39].
13. I DO NOT HAVE A GREAT TESTIMONY TO SHARE.
Many people think since their testimony is not like Paul’s “Damascus Road Experience,” others may not be impressed. That is wrong thinking. The emphasis is on self and not on Christ. The message to be conveyed is, “I was dead in sin—but now I have experienced forgiveness through Christ.” The Holy Spirit works in different ways to save people.
John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
14. SINCE GOD PREDESTINES PEOPLE TO SALVATION, WHY BOTHER TO EVANGELIZE?
God ordains not only the end but also the means to the end. In other words, while God has chosen people for salvation, the chosen need to be saved. And their salvation occurs upon them hearing and responding to the gospel. We are the means through which they may hear the gospel and hopefully respond to it. In other words, evangelism is the means God uses to save his people.
Acts 13:48 “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”
Acts 16:14 “One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”
2 Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.”
A proper understanding of biblical truths such as election, predestination, etc., should motivate the Christian for greater zeal in evangelism rather than abstaining from it!
15. I NEED TO DEVELOP A DEEPER FRIENDSHIP BEFORE I CAN START WITNESSING TO PEOPLE.
While “Friendship-Evangelism” has many positives, one of the dangers in this approach is this: Many times, it simply remains a friendship without any evangelism occurring. The longer the relationship without any evangelism, the harder it becomes to open the mouth to speak about Christ.
16. WHENEVER I PRESENT THE GOSPEL, I LIKE TO KEEP THE CONVERSATION SHORT AND SWEET.
In other words, evangelism is viewed as an “I’ve got-to” rather than an “I get-to” approach. Yes, there is the realization that evangelism is a command. Yet, because it is uncomfortable, the process is done quickly to soothe the conscience. The tendency is to quickly present the gospel and stop at the first sign of resentment or resistance from the unbeliever. The thought is, “Whew. I’m glad that was over. At least, I did my job!”
While we cannot and must not keep harassing the unbeliever, we should also refrain from a “Drive-Thru” approach to evangelism. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work in the unbeliever’s heart. A few minutes of silence during the gospel presentation process may be awkward—but it can be very effective! Evangelism is not to be treated as a “job.” It should be a delight for Christians to talk about their Lord!
17. AS LONG AS I AM FAITHFUL IN MY HOME AND WORK RESPONSIBILITIES, I AM FULFILLING MY CHRISTIAN ROLE.
Yes, it’s essential to be an excellent example within one’s home [being a good husband, wife, parent, etc.] and within one’s work sphere [by being a good employee, employer]. However, that cannot be used as an excuse for failure to evangelize. We cannot confine the Christian life as being obedient to some areas and disobedient in other areas.
18. I AM TOO BUSY WITH MY WORK AND FAMILY. I JUST DON’T HAVE TIME TO WITNESS FOR CHRIST.
If we are too busy to witness for Christ—then, we are indeed too busy! Who gives us the job? Who provides us with the family? Who gives us recreational activities? Can we put the gifts above the Giver? We all have time to do those things we like or want to do.
The issue is not busyness—but misplaced priorities. Living for Christ is our business! Those faithful in witnessing for Christ are usually faithful in the family sphere and the employment sphere.
19. I AM COMFORTABLE SHARING BIBLICAL TRUTHS AMONG CHRISTIANS—BUT NOT AMONG NON-CHRISTIANS.
In heaven, we will be sharing a lot of fellowship with one another! However, while on earth, we are left with the task of evangelism. Yes, it is easier, more comfortable, and joyful to discuss biblical matters with fellow Christians. Birds of the same feather do tend to flock together! And while fellowship with other Christians is crucial and commanded [Heb 10:24-25], we must also get out of our comfort zone and share about Christ with the outside world—that is a command as well [Acts 1:8]!
20. I WILL GO TO SOME OTHER LOCATION AND SHARE THE GOSPEL AS A MISSIONARY.
It is lovely to be willing to go somewhere where the Lord calls. However, if one is not opening the mouth to witness Christ at the present location, is there a guarantee the mouth will be opened in another area?
In addition, we are commanded to witness for Christ where we are at present. Then and only then can we be sure we will be faithful in another place. Why transport our disobedience to another location?
21. I AM LIVING IN SIN. HOW CAN I BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST?
While it is good to acknowledge sin in one’s life and feel like a hypocrite when witnessing for Christ at the same time, it is not good to continue living in the sinful condition. We must put away the sin that is harmful and then get on with the business of evangelism. Yes, we will never ever be perfect as long as we live in this flesh. However, that is no excuse to live in a sinful pattern and thus stay away from evangelism.
As one can see, the list can be exhaustive. However, the bottom line is this: Whatever the reason for not evangelizing, it is still SIN if there is failure to witness for Christ! Unless we come to grips with this truth, we will never even pray about evangelism—let alone do the work of evangelizing!
So, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on these truths and, where appropriate, acknowledge our failures to God and ask his help in overcoming them. Then and only then can we expect God to help us fulfill the command to be a faithful witness.
Perhaps the words of Mark Dever in his book, “The Gospel and Personal Evangelism” regarding evangelism be of comfort even when you are faithfully sowing the seeds and yet not seeing many results:
The Christian call to evangelize is not simply a call to persuade people to make decisions, but rather to proclaim to them the good news of salvation in Christ, to call them to repentance, and to give God glory for regeneration and conversion. We do not fail in our evangelism if we faithfully tell the gospel to someone who is not subsequently converted; we fail only if we do not faithfully tell the gospel at all.