Evangelism – 8 Common Problems

June 12, 2009

1. Church members cannot articulate the gospel clearly.

Response: The pastor should articulate the gospel with clarity from the pulpit on a regular basis. Presenting the gospel clearly on a regular basis will help fellow-Christians present it more clearly too. If necessary, church members should work through a study like 2 ways to live

2. Church members have few non-Christian friends.

Response: Cut down on the number of church activities during the week to allow some room for relationships to be built with non-Christians. Leaders must model a lifestyle of witness. Sow ideas about new ways to connect with people. Ask: where do the people of our community hang out, and how can we reach them?

3. A lack of evangelistic motivation.

Response: Preach on the clear call in Scripture to evangelise. With God’s help, lead people to Christ. There is nothing more encouraging to evangelism than to see people coming to know Jesus! Talk often about the terrors of God’s judgement upon the lost. Start with the leaders: are they doing evangelism? If so, there will be a trickle down effect.

4. Members are unable to answer friends questions.

Response: Do apologetical sidebars in sermons, raising would be objections from non-Christian friends. Recommend books like Every Thought Captive. It may be beneficial to do some practical work in this area, a course which mixes theory and practice.

5. Lifestyles of members do not commend the gospel.

Response: Repentance! There must be a willingness to apply God’s Word to every area of our lives, not just to Sunday’s. Church discipline might factor in here too.

6. Outsiders see the church as judgemental and lacking compassion.

Response: Confound expectations by being involved in public acts of care and concern in the community.

7.  Only professionals evangelise.

Response: Show people from the Scriptures that this is untrue. Ask people constantly about where they are doing evangelism, and who we can pray for in their circles. Frequently bring people up the front – ordinary people – to talk about their witness and how we can pray for them.

8. Don’t know what to do once someone is interested.

Response: Emphasise the importance of prayer. Only God can bring about true conversion! Now is probably also the time to bring them along to Christianity Explored, and eventually to church services. If they’re truly interested, they’ll come.

(ps. This is a little meditation I did recently. I thought I’d share it and see if there’s anything others might add).



  1. Thank you for sharing – it is excellent. I had one or two thoughts but they are subsets of your existing points really.

  2. There are some wonderful points made here. As a corollary to this, most of our members do not have the ability/inclination to discuss the Gospel, or most aspects of their Christian life with one another on a casual basis. When that happens, they can’t help but feel awkward or artificial when they try to discuss it with an unbeliever.

  3. Do you think that the widening gap between the church and culture is something that hinders evangelism? The impact, I think, can be two-fold. It may result in church members being embarassed to bring their non-Christian friends along to an ‘old fashioned’ church, or may repulse non-Christians from interaction or involvement with a ‘non-relevant’ church.

  4. 9. Lack of personal devotions would be another.

    Leads to no time to notice God’s activity, cold relationship with Christ.

    Solution: Help people experience God’s word, give devotional plans, small groups that are centered around studying the word for transformation, not intellectual discussion.


  5. Colin,
    Thanks for raising such an important topic on your excellent blog.

    I think you touch on some of the issues in this regard here, but also raise some other problems too!

    One of the big issues in this regard is the lack of evangelists in the church. Whilst it is good to have itinerants, the church needs local churches to appoint evangelists, as well as Pastors doing the work of evangelists.

    In my work enthusing & encouraging outreach over here in NZ, I think the 3 big issues tend to be – the absence of unbelieving friends, the lack of ability to articulate the Gospel clearly in any situation & the lack of prayerful concern (& action) for those friends! Many people are only able to articulate the Gospel through a means such as 2 Ways To Live, which to be fair, not many people give you the time to share it in & not that many people think in pictures/structures the way 2WTL is set up.

    My final concern is that churches have lost imagination and creativity in thinking through evangelism. I am a big fan of Christianity Explored, but too much of our evangelism or evangelistic strategy consists of “Share whatever you can of the Gospel with your friends, invite them to our next CE course…” or “We’ll preach evangelistically, but instead of appealing people to come to Christ there & then, we’ll invite them to our CE course for the next few weeks…” Many of us have lost confidence in straightforward, clear, Biblical & Christ-centred relevant preaching of the Gospel.

    Thanks for raising this issue though Colin – I guess no-one really likes evangelism – Christians or non-Christians! Yes, at times it is the hard task of the believer, but it also brings so much potential joy.

  6. […] Evangelism – 8 Common Problems […]

  7. Hi Colin

    Thanks for a thought provoking piece. I wonder if one of the other problems in our churches that hinders evangelism is that we don’t live in light of eternity. If we are not aware of the pressing nature of our friends lost eternity’s then the impetus to share the gospel with them will not be there. It also means we will not risk sharing the gospel with them because we will be so tied to this world that we don’t focus on hearing the well done my good and faithful servant.

    Your 2nd point is particularly interesting, we as a church just have a Sunday morning service and home groups during the week, with twice a month leadership training. But so few of our people have friendships outside the church. I think one of the ways to help people with this is by modelling it. My people need to see me bringing my friends to Christ and to church and putting my friendships on the line.

  8. […] Unashamed Workman: Evangelism – 8 Common Problems by Colin Adams Church members cannot articulate the gospel […]

  9. Great comments! I especially like “2. Church members have few non-Christian friends.” I have coached little league for four years and it has been a great opportunity to show the world that fundamental Christians are not weird. However, it does make it tough if we have 1-2 practices a week an 1-2 games. For the world, the extra nights are no problem. But it can caues extra stress for the Christian family with two evening services per week, plus a visitation night and a deacon meeting, etc. We need to be able to go where the people are, as did Jesus and Paul.

  10. […] Adams, soon-to-be pastor and blogger at Unashamed Workman, wrote about 8 Common Problems of Evangelism that churches face. Here are a […]

  11. I have a bee in my bonnet about point 2. Let me explain!

    We do not need to make friends. Most of us are employed and we are surrounded by people who do not have our faith. Most of us have neighbours, so we are surrounded by people who do not have our faith. Most of us have family, so we are surrounded (in many cases) by people who do not have our faith. Many of us have children, who are surrounded by family who will not share our faith. Many of us play sport and are surrounded by people who do not share our faith.

    Potential friends are there, we just have to take advantage of the opportunities. Invite the neighbours round for a BBQ, have children (and parents) over for tea, go out with colleagues for meals. We just have to open our eyes to the harvest field we are in and not worry about finding a new one.

    I think we also have a problem with friendships within the church. We probably have a lot of church acquaintances, but not many friends. We congregate together but we do not spend enough time with each other to be friends. Perhaps less activity and more fellowship would develop our relationships within churches.

    Was this not the “attraction” of the Acts 2 Jerusalem church? It was their concern for each other, not their unbelieving friends, that was evident to others.

    Sorry to be controversial on this and break the consensus, but we just have to be Christians where we find ourselves.

  12. i particularly agree with the point made by phildog in relation to friendships within church. too often we come together like little islanders to the mainland on Sundays and perhaps a midweek bible study. here we get our weekly nourishment and return once more to our own little islands without any other contact the rest of the week. It is time for church to start interacting with each other before we can think about interacting with community.

  13. Phildog has a great point: if we are still working, we likely already have some friends who are non-Christian.

    However, as I teach workshops, people tell me they have non=Christians co-workers, they have non-christian neighbors, and non-Christian contacts in their social activity.

    What they lack, they say, is that they are not friends, just acquiantences. They don’t feel they spend time with them talking about spiritual things, or even life.

    Example: talk about work with co-workers. Talk about the sport with team mates, don’t even talk with the neighbors.

    As a trainer, or as a leader, we need to help people see the extent of their current social network and help them see the opportunities that already exist.

    Just some thoughts this morning.

  14. Chris confirms the point made by Garry early on. If we are unwilling/unable to talk about our Christian walk with fellow Christians (is that because they are not really friends and we don’t trust thenm yet), we won’t do it with anyone else.

    If we don’t use our current contacts, there is a slim chance we would use any new contacts to spread the gospel. Any new friendships we make are just built around a common social activity.

    We know more about the people we spend most time with. Colleagues are daily contacts, we know what irritates them, what excites them and what really matters to them. They are the group to whom we should concentrate our witness,unless Colin’s point 5 does applies.

    Paul witnessed to everyone he came into contact with, soldiers, sailors, businesswomen, demon possessed girls. There is no easy method – we just need to do it.

  15. I guess my point about #2 is that we don’t make ourselves available to the world. We have our Christian school, our ladies meetings, our men’s prayer meetings, our youth group, etc. We need to get out and get the salt on the meat and I don’t mean simply knocking on someone’s door and asking, “if you were to die today…” I believe each of us must be active in our Jerusalem which is the “8 neighbors whose property touches ours. As Phildog said we should have our friends over for a BBQ, etc.
    When I was a youth pastor I had parents say to me that they were concerned about some of the teens coming to our youth group meetings and activities. No one from the community ever came to me and said that they were concerned about my teens hanging around their kids.

    I’m saying that we have to move outside the safety of the castle walls. I am glad for the churches that have moved beyond that castle mentality.

    One more thing…there is a danger in having friendships in the world. We can become friends with common bonds i.e. politics, athletics, children, etc. and we can forget to evangelize

  16. […] Eight common problems in evangelism… and suggested solutions. HT […]

  17. Great topic! Please skim our web site for an expanded addressing of the problem, and suggested solutions. JM

  18. Great Topic! Please skim our web site (www.WillYouLiveForever.org) for an expanded addressing of the problem and solutions available. God bless, JM

  19. Very good

  20. …thank you, I think lack of commitment from members also contributes to one of the hindrances to an effective evangelism.

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