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It was interesting to read what Barna Group recently discovered regarding teenagers (ages 13-17) and evangelism. Not only is the “spirituality” of teenagers slowly waning, but they are less likely to share Christ in their conversations. You can read the whole article here.
In Barna’s survey, they specifically asked the teenager, “During the past 12 months, did you explain your religious beliefs to someone else who had different beliefs, in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their savior?” Guess what? Compared to about a decade ago, the percentage dropped considerably (from 63% in 1997 to 45% in 2009).
David Kinnaman, the president of Barna Group said, “Christian teenagers are taking cues from a culture that has made it unpopular to make bold assertions about faith or be too aggressively evangelistic. Some of the Barna Group’s other research shows that the vast majority of these students agree with the statement it is ‘cool to be a Christian.’ Yet fewer young Christians apparently believe it is worthwhile to talk about their faith in Jesus with others.”
Can something be that “cool” but yet, something not worthwhile to share with others, especially to those who are important to you?
This is a problem in the American Church today.
We have made following Christ a “cool” thing through all the culturally-relevant youth programs, but we have failed miserably in “making disciples.”
How can anyone not talk about someone that is so important to you?
Sometimes the problem is started from the front-end. We have been content with just presenting the Gospel and then have the person say a simple “sinner’s prayer.” It is easy to think that our job is done after the person says, “Amen.” To our demise, we make our goal to see how many converts we can get. Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus command us to “make converts” but rather to “make disciples” (Mt 28:19).
Disciple making is hard work. In fact, it requires a lot of time, energy, effort and prayer.
I will never forget one of the discipleship sessions I had with Dr. Robert E. Coleman. As he was talking about the importance of evangelism and discipleship, he said, “We have not done evangelism, until the person who has come to Christ is able to bring someone else into a relationship with Christ.” At first, I really didn’t know what he was trying to get at, but after giving it some thought, I realized that he was emphasizing the importance of discipleship. A person will not be able to bring someone else into a relationship with Christ if they are not discipled to share their faith.
If we are serious about seeing a cultural shift in our generation, then we have to put a lot of attention on making disciples. No more lukewarm Christianity. No more easy Christianity. We need to raise the bar and challenge Christ-followers to share their faith.
A person who has genuinely experienced Christ in a powerful way would want to share the greatest discovery with everyone. No apologies. No excuses. No hesitation. There is just no way around it.