If necessary, use words
There’s good news for Christians who’ve only ever experienced angst about evangelism due to feeling inadequate at delivering compelling Gospel presentations and convincing apologetic masterpieces that turn sceptics into true believers. You also don’t need to find a famous identity to present your message. The quote questionably attributed to St Augustine may well be true. New research finds that in the Australian context there’s a more effective way of relating the Gospel, and we can all do it!
This is according to the results of the new Faith and Belief in Australia report, produced by McCrindle Research, in partnership with Olive Tree Media, Christian Media and Arts Association, Christian Schools Australia and the Ministry Training Strategy.
The report features a wide range of outcomes including that the top attractor in relation to religion and spirituality is people who live out a genuine faith. This is an ‘attractor’ that cannot be contained within a church program or event. This relies on Christians to understand the importance of an authentic faith and the degree to which this affects the openness of people looking on to consider the claims of Christ.
These results wouldn’t have surprised the Apostle Paul who talked of believers being a ‘living letter’ (2 Cor 3:3). The most potent place where this attractor is at play would be through our working lives.
In Thank God It’s Monday, Mark Greene highlights the importance of the workplace to a Christian’s evangelistic potential:
- “There are very few places where a non-Christian could and should see the difference that Christ makes in a life so clearly as working with someone thirty, forty, sixty hours a week.
- We are called on to look for common ground with non-Christians when, in the workplace, we already share it.
- We are being exhorted to build bridges when, in the workplace, the bridges are built and have been crossed.
- We are exhorted to go and develop relationships with people, but, in the workplace, the relationships already exist.
- We are encouraged to go out and fish in pools and puddles when we are already sitting on a lake full of fish.”
In an Australian context where there is such a negative perception of the church due to the ongoing sexual abuse enquiries, authentic Christian living is essential. (It’s essential always of course). As a business owner I have found it necessary to hide the Christian identity of many of my customers from my staff due to the poor manner in which many of them behave, particularly about relatively trifling amounts of money. Time and time again poor behaviour has simply served to underline pre-existing perceptions that my staff have of ‘hypocritical’ believers.
Discipleship is therefore a critical element of preparing believers for effective evangelism. Do what I say doesn’t cut the mustard.
Check out a summary of the report here: https://www.eternitynews.com.au/australia/results-are-in-aussies-admire-people-who-live-out-a-genuine-faith/
Stan Fetting, Crossover Operations Manager, May 2017