Who Do So Few Christians Witness For Christ?

What is the reason that not many Christians share their faith with the lost?

Imperative Command

When Jesus was about to return to heaven and be seated at the right hand of the Father, Jesus told His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:18-20), and in the Book of Acts, before His ascension, He again told them that they “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The structure of the sentence in Matthew 28 is that of an imperative command, so here is the King of kings commanding His disciples, to go into all the world and make disciples of others so they can repeat the process, so why are there so few witnesses for Christ? The church began as a very small mustard seed, but it began to grow due, thanks in large part to persecution (Act 8:1-2), and since that time it has continued to grow at incredible rates around the world. Jesus promised His disciples the power, and He gave them the authority, but Jesus’ disciples weren’t limited to those twelve, because there’s no respect to sex or skin color in making disciples of others (Gal 3:28). Well before the Great Commission, Jesus had sent out “the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” (Luke 9:1-2). Once again, Jesus provided the power and authority they would need to proclaim the kingdom of God. And He sent them with no provisions, forcing them to rely on God (Luke 9:3), so for the disciples, there was no option or plan B. Neither is there for us.

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A Great Harvest, Few Laborers

In Luke 10:2 Jesus tells the disciples that the harvest seems greater than the number of laborers, which is why He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Has it changed much today? Are there still few laborers entering into the harvest of souls? It would appear so. When was the last time someone you don’t know shared the gospel with you? When was the last time you shared Christ with a family member, co-worker, friend, or even a stranger? How often do you hear of someone you know sharing Christ and them coming to saving faith? Jesus has already told us that the harvest is bigger than the number of laborers available (Matt 9:37), and Jesus will not accept our excuse if we say, “’There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). We can utterly trust Jesus, Who is the Head of the Church, and His saying, “‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor” (John 4:37-38), means that when He sends us, someone may have already sown the seed of God’s Word. Either way, their salvation doesn’t depend on the arm of flesh or the will of man (John 1:3), thankfully! If it did, no one would be saved. Clearly, we must pray for more laborers to enter into the harvest but not forget to enter it ourselves.

The Great Omission

When someone once asked me, “How’s the Outreach going?” I ask them, “Why don’t you join me and find out?” I think I scared him off, but in the church I attended many years ago, there was an 8 week training program being offered on Sunday nights on how to share Christ. The first night we had to move the meeting to the fellowship hall or dining hall because so many showed up. The next week about half that number showed up. Then, at the halfway point, there were only 3 of us left, and the next week, only the pastor and I were left. The pastor later left that church, and when I got called into the ministry, I thought that this church was going to die since it had no interest in going into all the world. You know…evangelize or fossilize. In fact, most in that church wouldn’t even go next door, so why do so few witness for Christ? Some who are believers may not witness for Christ because they are not obeying Christ, and they feel like hypocrites. Others are living in sin and think, “Who do I think I am to tell someone else about Christ?” And then there are those who doubt their own salvation. One day they feel saved and the next day they feel lost, so how can a person who believes they can lose their own salvation witness to someone about being saved? Do they say, “Brother or sister, you can be saved today by repenting and trusting in Christ. Then, you’ll have eternal life…well, unless you lose it, but you can be saved today, but I’m not sure you’ll be saved tomorrow?” How strong of a witness is that!? You wouldn’t have convinced me years ago. Telling someone they can be saved, but then be lost again, destroys the power that is the gospel of salvation to save (Rom 1:16; 1st Cor 1:18).

Conclusion

We may not be able to go into all the world, but we can go next door, but today, we’re just not as passionate as we used to be as the church. Consider this; about half of all church leadership ministries have zero ministries outside of the four walls of the church; about 63% of deacons and elders have never once led anyone to Christ; 95% of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ in their lives (although we know it is God alone Who saves, but He uses us as a means to do so); and less than 2% are involved in evangelism in their church. [1] That is a tragic assessment (or indictment?) of the church today, and it seems that it’s either the fear of man or the apathy toward the lost. Its small wonder that Jesus tells us we must “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). Are you part of the answer to that prayer request? Will you be part of and obey the Great Commission, or like the majority, be part of the silent majority and their “great omission?”

1. Street Level Evangelism, Where is the Space for the Local Evangelist,” by Michael Parrott, Acts Evangelism, Spokane, WA, 1993, pp.9-11.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is host of Spiritual Fitness and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Maltnothops

    I generally think well of others until given a reason not to so I like to think that many Christians don’t proselytize because of respect for their fellow humans.

    • fractal

      AMEN!

  • pud

    There are quite a few reasons…My top 10!

    1. There is no “god” particularly a “christian god” and you can demonstrate nothing to show otherwise
    2. All powerful deities capable of creating universes do not need stupid worker bees like you pitching nonsense
    3. If a deity cared about being known to humanity he/she/it is perfectly capable without your dimwitted help
    4. “christians” (all 40,000 denominations) cannot even agree among themselves
    5. In EVERY instance science, education and rationality have shoved your “god” further into the dustbin of history where all the other 10,000 “gods” reside
    6. People in general are not as stupid as they used to be, practice healthy skepticism and shun CULTS particularly apocalyptic blood cults like yours
    7. There is NO evidence whatsoever for any “jesus” ever living
    8. Your “jesus” character is wholly immoral and made up…”he” never said shit…the delusional authors of your book (no names) said he said…it’s a STORY!
    9. Your “god” is wholly immoral
    10. Your indoctrination of children is repulsive to all rational people of good will and honesty.

    Further…Most people are basically rational. They KNOW that men can’t live in fish, donkeys don’t talk, the sun doesn’t and can’t stand still in the sky etc etc…they therefore KNOW that the STORIES in the buybull are just that…that they are allegories or parables and NOT REAL so representing this book of fable and fantasy goes against their better intuition. Unless you’re a preacher from Kansas who has to make a living selling this nonsense or an extremely credulous or low IQ individual.

  • Rod Bristol

    The trouble is that many Christians (and atheists) have only seen religion, what Jesus called “commandments of men,” instead of a vital experience of partnership with God. Jesus is in the freedom business, not the religion business. Read (Luke 4:18 and following) to see how he introduced himself to the people of his home town, people who thought they knew him. When Jesus gave them what they needed, instead of the spectacular “proof” they wanted, they were enraged, not engaged. When people know the gospel, they share it with joy.

    • pud

      What total delusional gibberish. You cannot even demonstrate that a “god” exists let alone the bizarre “son of god/is god/is 3 in one” nonsense. All powerful deities don’t need “partners” You are deranged…your BOOK is a fable, a story book it is NOT real! hello?

    • “When people know the gospel, they share it with joy.”

      Well, most Baptists and other evangelicals “know the gospel” ( one of the evangelical versions of it), yet very few evangelise. These don’t “share it with joy”. Could it be, that most evangelicals don’t really believe it? Most of these would claim to have a “vital experience of partnership with God”. Maybe they are closet atheists, though I doubt it. They would defend their theology to the hilt.

      If God does not exist, then why evangelise. It’s useless.

      • Alex Voon

        Baptists and other evangelicals “know the gospel” ( one of the evangelical versions of it), yet very few evangelize because most likely they feel they are already secured a place in Heaven which is a big mistake. The Church misunderstood and misinterpreted the gospel as solely the grace of God’s forgiveness of sin, omitting the rest of the OT scriptures.
        The gospel is the Word of God (which is every word that God had spoken by the prophets to all of mankind).
        We are to test-proof the Word of God in our whole life (if they are true).
        The experience we have in our life is evident of proof that the Word of God is true.

        • What do you mean by “The gospel is the Word of God”? Do you mean the bible? Doesn’t the word “gospel” mean “good news”? If so, how is God’s alleged command to slaughter the Canaanites and the Amalekites, including defenceless women, little children and babies “good news”. It’s murder in the name of God. The power elite tried to justify their barbaric acts of murder by saying “God told us” and these got incorporated into the Hebrew scriptures.

        • Internal experience of an imaginary being is no proof that such a being exists. You might talk to this imaginary being and you might attribute coincidences in life to answers in prayer, but how many times has this imaginary NOT answered your prayers?

      • fractal

        If God exists, is She really so petty that She requires constant strokes and attention?

    • Nick Winters

      That freedom seems to come with a large pile of behavioral restrictions and social expectations above and beyond those required by society at large. Doesn’t seem too free to me, especially without a concrete demonstration of what I’m theoretically being freed from.

      Which (by the way) is why hypocrisy is important: it’s a direct contradiction to the claim that conversion frees you from sin and gives you supernatural happiness.

  • Maltnothops

    In previous blog posts Jack has implied that Christians who don’t witness their faith aren’t really Christian (if they were Real, they would witness). This post provides some stats that suggests proselytizing is fairly rare. And the combination of these two arguments sets up an interesting logical chain. It would seem that the US is not in any way a “Christian nation” if the vast majority of its citizens are not Real Christians. And that means it would be downright silly and weird for our public policies to reflect Christian values (whatever those might be). Which makes me wonder why Real Christians complain about public policies that are at odds with Christian values. If hardly anyone is a Real Christian, there is no reason to expect the US to adhere to those esoteric notions.

  • How many evangelicals actually believe the so-called gospel is not really known? Members are under tremendous pressure to outwardly conform to the accepted beliefs of their churches or face expulsion if the cross the boundary lines set up(stated or implied) by their churches. So ,in public, they state that they conform but, if judged by their observed practice, they don’t actually believe or maybe they don’t really agree with methods of discipleship making taught by their churches. Maybe this is because they respect the dignity of others too much to proclaim what is often a repugnant version of Christianity? After all, telling people they are going to hell, if they don’t conform to one’s version of the gospel doesn’t appear to me to be good news.

  • fractal

    Why don’t more Christians Witness?

    Perhaps because most people who become followers of a messianic movement, eventually realize that others don’t want someone to shove religion down their throat.

    Perhaps because the best Christians understand that actions speak louder than words—even “biblical words”—so they lead by example.

    Perhaps because many Christians have figured out that some biblical passages seem more relevant to their situation, culture etc… than others.

    Perhaps because some Christians have given up trying to control EVERYTHING in our culture, from what enters and exits woman’s vagina, to what kind of dead flesh we can eat on Friday without going to hell—or how many converts worship exactly the same image of the Sacred as do they.

  • Nick Winters

    To join in on the dogpile, I’d argue that it’s a combination of basic human decency, politeness, and the wish to not be ostracized by your neighbors. I’m happy to hang out with people with Christian beliefs, but as a gaytheist I’ll just as happily ostracize them if they spend all their time telling me how sinful and evil I am and how I need to become chaste or burn in hell. That isn’t fun, and since my gayness is a (though not the only!) central part of how I interact with the world there is no way to evangelize me without denying my lived experience. Decent people realize this and leave well enough alone. Unless I ask, which I often do since I enjoy talking about religion, in which case I’ve demonstrated an interest and that opens the door to a polite conversation or polite disagreement.