I don’t know about you, but living where we are – 21st century London – I’m finding evangelism hard.
Which in one sense shouldn’t be a surprise – Paul tells us that “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Cor 4:4).
But on reflection, I think I wasn’t helping the cause.
Until recently, I used to think that evangelism* was a case of dismantling people’s obstacles to Christianity (“Hasn’t science disproved God?”, “How can we trust the Bible?”), before drawing 2 Ways To Live on the back of a napkin. Dealing with their reasoned obstacles to belief, until they rationally came to believe.
And yet in reality, that never seemed to happen.
What I’m finding is that people don’t have obstacles to the Christian faith. Quite the opposite. The Christian faith isn’t even on their radar as something to consider.
And so it’s all very well being prepared to give a reason for the hope we have – but what do we do if no-one ever actually asks to hear the reason?
What if no-one cares?
How do we take the gospel to neighbours, colleagues, family, when they just don’t seem…bothered?
Here’s a sentence that helped me change the way I approach my evangelism.
“Evangelism is not just convincing people that the gospel is true, but also that it is better.”
See what he’s saying?
I think I was seeing evangelism as persuading people of a series of facts, dealing with their objections one step at a time until they repented and believed.
But in a post-truth, post-modern, post-everything age, that (often) doesn’t cut the mustard.
What we need is to help people to see that the gospel is better.
That the gospel is the better way to make sense of life.
That the gospel is the better way to find meaning, purpose, satisfaction, hope, identity.
What we need is to help expose the deepest longings of those we’re in conversation with, and then help them to see how the gospel provides a better answer, in a way that nothing else does.
In our evangelism, we are not just holding out true facts that Jesus is Christ the Lord, but are also wanting to demonstrate to people that living with Christ as Saviour and Lord is the best way to live.
It’s not a silver bullet – evangelism will, of course, still be hard. And, mercifully, we still lean on our sovereign God to open blind eyes (2 Cor 4:6). But for such a time as this, it’s a means of approaching evangelism which, I pray, might lead to some good conversations.
And so, introducing somethingbetter.org.uk.
On this website you’ll find training videos on apologetics and evangelism; stories of people coming to discover Jesus for themselves; short reads like this, and evangelistic resources to download and order, such as ‘A Better Hero’.
It’s nothing radical. It’s just an online hub – a tab to have on your internet browser – that you can head to for tips and suggestions on how to engage people with news of something better in 21st century London.
That’s the aim. To resource the local church to reach the city with news of something better.
So – dive in, explore, read, watch, listen – and then go and tell.
* for the sake of this article, references to ‘evangelism’ include what we might consider ‘apologetics’. More on the important relationship between apologetics & evangelism in a further article…