Why Do People Fail at Missions?
Why are churches ineffective at evangelism? There are probably lots of reasons, but Colin Adams has some outstanding thoughts in answer to this question. This is a great exercise for a group. Take some time and ask your group why they don't evangelize as much as they think they should. See how many of their answers match the ones in this list. Then read the list and see if they agree. Spend time talking about solutions the church can provide, and solutions your group can provide.
1. Church members cannot articulate the gospel clearly.
Response: The pastor should articulate the gospel with clarity from the pulpit on a regular basis. Presenting the gospel clearly on a regular basis will help fellow-Christians present it more clearly too. If necessary, church members should work through a study like 2 ways to live
2. Church members have few non-Christian friends.
Response: Cut down on the number of church activities during the week to allow some room for relationships to be built with non-Christians. Leaders must model a lifestyle of witness. Sow ideas about new ways to connect with people. Ask: where do the people of our community hang out, and how can we reach them?
3. A lack of evangelistic motivation.
Response: Preach on the clear call in Scripture to evangelise. With God’s help, lead people to Christ. There is nothing more encouraging to evangelism than to see people coming to know Jesus! Talk often about the terrors of God’s judgement upon the lost. Start with the leaders: are they doing evangelism? If so, there will be a trickle down effect.
4. Members are unable to answer friends questions.
Response: Do apologetical sidebars in sermons, raising would be objections from non-Christian friends. Recommend books like Every Thought Captive. It may be beneficial to do some practical work in this area, a course which mixes theory and practice.
5. Lifestyles of members do not commend the gospel.
Response: Repentance! There must be a willingness to apply God’s Word to every area of our lives, not just to Sunday’s. Church discipline might factor in here too.
6. Outsiders see the church as judgemental and lacking compassion.
Response: Confound expectations by being involved in public acts of care and concern in the community.
7. Only professionals evangelise.
Response: Show people from the Scriptures that this is untrue. Ask people constantly about where they are doing evangelism, and who we can pray for in their circles. Frequently bring people up the front – ordinary people – to talk about their witness and how we can pray for them.
8. Don’t know what to do once someone is interested.
Response: Emphasise the importance of prayer. Only God can bring about true conversion! Now is probably also the time to bring them along to Christianity Explored, and eventually to church services. If they’re truly interested, they’ll come.