In chapter 4 – “Get Saved!” – of UnChristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… And Why It Matters, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons discuss how outsiders perceive Christians and our evangelistic efforts.
The perception, according to the authors, is that followers of Christ are insincere and only concerned about the conversion of those outside the faith. That all we want to do is to add notches on our belts.
In the book a 22-year-old named Sean said:
Christians are too concerned with converting people. They are insincere. All I ever hear is, “Get saved!” I tried that whole “Jesus thing” already. It didn’t work for me before, and I am not interested now.
The results of the survey that The Barna Group conducted among outsiders who were 16-29 years-old showed that only a third of outsiders in that age group believe that Christians actually care about them. Contrast that with 64% of Christian who believe that they are seen as genuine by outsiders. Those who are followers of Christ need to realize that we have an image problem, and the way we approach evangelism doesn’t help.
Street witnessing is seen as negative (no surprise there), I’ve had my own negative experience with that.
Methods that are designed to “trick” people into paying attention are disdained as well.
Mass evangelism events
Being argumentative in a way that is offensive.
How we choose to share Christ is as important as our actually doing it.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, (2 Timothy 2:24-25, ESV).
The authors say it is like this generation has been de-churched. Our faith has been forgettable. They say that because they found.
4 of 5 went to a Christian church, most for at least three months.
2/3 have had conversations with a Christian friend about their faith views.
53% have been specifically approached in the past few years about becoming a Christian.
65% have said that they have made a commitment to Christ at some point in their lives.
That last statistic shows a lack of depth. I have seen that with juvenile offenders that I have worked with commit their lives to Christ… but then re-offend and it seems like their lives lack transformation. They attitude and beliefs at times seem unchanged as well. Many are lacking a Biblical worldview which the authors define as:
A person with a biblical worldview experiences, interprets, and responds to reality in light of the Bible’s principles. What scripture teaches is the primary grid for making decisions and interacting with the world.
To define it further according to the authors, a person with a biblical worldview believes…
that Jesus lived a sinless life.
God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules it today.
salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned.
Satan is real.
a Christian has a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people.
the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
unchanging moral truths exists.
such moral truth is defined by the Bible.
They note that only 3% of Busters and Mosaics embrace the above eight elements. I’m curious – what elements would you add? Take away? How would you define a Biblical worldview?
Kinnaman and Lyons say that we will not be effective with young outsiders if we do not address the problem of superficial faith. How deep is the faith you convey to others?
How to address the negative perception of our evangelistic efforts?
Christians cultivating relationships and environments where others can be deeply transformed by God.
Evangelism must be relational with young outsiders. We need to cultivate relationships with the purpose of… being a friend! When opportunities arise to share our faith we are doing so in a natural context. The key also is to continue in the relationship even if our faith is rejected. That is important because.
Evangelism is a process… we can’t be so focused on “people saying a prayer” that we lose sight of the fact that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) says we are to make disciples, not converts. There is no exact formula, but it does need to be defined. It is a journey not a one-time decision. Transformed disciples are ones who follow who love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength, (Mark 12:30). So that their faith affects how they think, how they love, how they serve, how they worship and work.
What do you think a transformed disciple looks like?
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