Why Don’t More Christians Share Their Faith?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Christians share their faith with others, don’t they? Believe it or not, this happens less frequently than you might think.

Jesus’ Commands

Perhaps the one thing that most disciples struggle with after they’re saved is sharing their faith with an unsaved person. They might love to serve in the church, they might regularly attend worship services, and they might even teach a class, but when it comes to sharing their faith with family or friends, it appears that they might be ashamed of the gospel. Obviously, the Apostle Paul wasn’t shy about telling others about Christ, writing, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16). Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world to make disciples, teaching them the same things that Jesus taught them (Matt 28:19-20), but not only if they felt like it…they were to go, despite how they felt about it. The things that they were to teach others are found in the four gospels today, and in other letters written by the apostles in the New Testament. We may not be able to go into all the world, but we can go next door, or to the person standing in line behind us, or by any other means God may divinely place us. Why don’t more obey this imperative command from our Supreme Commander? There are reasons, but none of them very good.

Go into all the world to make disciples

Fear of Man

The Bible teaches that the fear of man is a stumbling block proves to be a snare (Prov 29:25). It prevents us from doing what we know God wants us to do. This self-inflicted fear muffles our witness, mutes our testimony, so many who know us might not even know we’re believers. We naturally tend to do things that will make people like us, rather than do what we know God wants us to do, and one thing is to present the gospel to lost people. The Apostle Paul had no choice but to preach the Word, writing, “if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor 9:6). Paul asks a few rhetorical questions like, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news” (Rom 10:14-15)! God opens doors that no man can (Rev 3:8), and the church knew that, gathering “together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.  And they stayed there a long time with the disciples” (Acts 14:27-28). There is never any mention of any believer being silent about their faith; only rejoicing at how God was saving many hundreds and later, thousands. Being fearful about sharing their faith never occurred to them. They were more fearful of neglecting God’s commands than being afraid of rejection, scorn, and destroyed relationships.

Current Trend

Jon D. Wilke, in writing about churchgoers silence about Christ, said that 80% of churchgoers believe they are commanded to share their faith but only 60% of them (3/4ths of them) have done it only once over the last six months, and just about half the Christians who responded said that they have never once invited someone to church. [1] Does the fact that we don’t witness for Christ connect to the fact that only 21% of Christians pray for someone who is lost. Barna Research questioned believers and 73% are sure they’re commanded to be witnesses, yet less than half do…and less than half that group (48%) has never witnessed at all! [2] Since Barna has been tracking data on evangelism (in 1966), there has been a steady drop in the number of Christians witnessing, and this given the fact that there are more Christians today than in 1966. [2]  One interesting fact was that the poorer the Christian was, the more likely they were to be evangelizing. I’m not sure why that is, but those who are richer tended to witness less. Perhaps it’s due to having more financial comfort and security than the poor, and the poor can more easily identify with those who are struggling.

Knowing the Gospel

You can’t share what you don’t know, so you must know the gospel well enough to share the gospel without a Bible. You might not be able to carry a Bible with you everywhere you go or have it at every moment you need it, so memorize key Bible verses and you’ll always have them with you. Maybe this is what’s keeping some from sharing their faith more, or it might be they’re living in sin and feel like hypocrites by witnessing for Christ. But it could be they don’t know what to say. A couple of verses destroy the false idea that most unsaved people have. Most believe they’ve done more good than bad, and that should be able to get them into heaven, however, Romans 3:10-12 puts a stop to that thinking. It says that none are good; not even, meaning there are no exceptions (Rom 3:10-12). Every one of us have fallen infinitely short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23), and the wages of eternal death will be paid out at Christ’s coming or after we die (Heb 9:27), “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). Jesus offers every one of us, one of two choices: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36), so people must know the gospel well enough to know that being a self-proclaimed “good person” is not good enough on Judgment Day (Matt 7:21-23). They must be able to tell others that only through Christ (Acts 4:12) can we have the righteousness that is required to enter the kingdom and escape the wrath of God (2 Cor 5:21).

Conclusion

It’s easier to witness when there are two of you. One can be praying while the other is speaking. Today, there are really good Bible tracts that you can hand out to people, leave in public places, and put in the places where people will be, but I believe it’s most difficult of all to witness to family because you stand to lose the most in relationships, however, let me remind you (and me!) that Jesus said the cost is high, and showing that said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). If we stop for a moment and look at people…look intently upon our lost family and friends…, and now, think about their eternal state without Christ, and that their eternity is forever fixed and will never, ever change. We might have more compassion and courage to tell them about Christ. When the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, wrapped up a class on evangelism, he said if these men could spend 5 minutes in hell, they wouldn’t need this training. They’d likely be jumping out of their chairs and running as to rescue someone from a burning house…which, in a way, it is. Like we once were, a stick snatched out of the fire, twice burnt, once saved; but only by the grace of God (Zech3:2). The stick couldn’t have saved itself. It needed someone else’s help. God doesn’t need us to save anyone, but He is pleased to use us as a means to do so. Who went to that trouble for you? Aren’t you glad they stepped out of their comfort zone?

1. Wilke, Jon D. Churchgoers Believe in Sharing Faith, Most Never Do. Lifeway.com. http://www.lifeway.com/Article/research-survey-sharing-christ-2012 (Accessed Dec 20, 2017).

2. Kinnaman, David. Is Evangelism Going out of Style? Barna.com/research https://www.barna.com/research/is-evangelism-going-out-of-style/ (Accessed Dec 20, 2017).

Here is some related reading for you: How to Evangelize Door to Door

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible : English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Bingham May 9, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Really good post!
One thing I’d like to point out is the difficulty people have the Luke 14:26 where it says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple”.
What is very helpful to understand is the definition of the Greek word, “Hate”, in this context. It is the secondary meaning of the word hate and actually means “to love less”. We are to “love less” our family members and even our own lives than our love for Jesus. It is a choice to chose the will of God over what our family may want or even what we may want for ourselves.

It does NOT mean to “hate” as in despising or total rejection. Since we are to love even love our enemies, how can we hate our own families. We can’t!

Reply

Jack Wellman May 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Thank you Mr. Bingham. I so agree. Context is king, you are right.

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