The ministry has been on the front lines of evangelism for over two decades and we are blessed to see more people coming to us for conversation. However, the challenges to sharing Jesus are growing and we have to adapt to navigate this new landscape. This article reminds us of what is changing and how we work through it.
We do not need to look too far back to see a very different world. Whether you view the past through a lens of technology, communication or politics – you know society is very different. The is also true when thinking about evangelism and our call to share Jesus. There are countless reasons this has changed but three major shifts have made the conversation different.
The first reason is how evangelism is now seen as forcing your values on others. Ed Stetzer is the Executive Director at Wheaton’s Billy Graham Center and he states, “Tolerance has become a virtue and conviction a vice. Our conviction of Jesus as the only Savior flies in the face of tolerance.”
Secondly, culture has shifted into making personal preferences into social justice issues and pushing mainstream Christian values outside the majority view. Traditional faith is now often categorized as unloving or closed-minded.
The third challenge is how Christians view evangelism and a growing belief among younger believers that it is actually wrong to share your faith with a non-believer. A recent study by Alpha found that 47% of Christian millennials believe sharing one’s faith is wrong. The same group was asked what is the best thing that can happen in life and 94% responded knowing Jesus. So, this leaves us with the inconsistent position of having the best news possible but it not being ok to share it.
These challenges can be summarized as culture wants us to pay more attention to feelings and the personal right to choose over what God says is best. We know listening first and meeting people in their choices is essential to connection. We understand showing love and grace softens hearts to our message. We are training and encouraging volunteers to offer hope in every situation and embrace this challenge as we share the Gospel in a shifting and broken culture.