An unexploded World War II bomb was found recently near London’s Wembley Stadium. It was probably dropped over London during German bombing raids. When the bomb was discovered, authorities evacuated hundreds of people from their homes and offices. Bomb disposal experts built a blast wall around the site, then worked through the night to defuse it.
No one in authority questioned the need to evacuate the area, or to defuse the bomb. They knew that without their initiative, people could die.
Now consider this fact: 61 percent of those who attend church at least monthly have not shared the gospel with even a single person in the last six months. Twenty-five percent say they have shared their faith once or twice in that time; only 14 percent say they have shared the gospel three or more times in the last six months.
What is the problem?
More education is apparently not the primary issue. Three-fourths of churchgoers say they feel comfortable in their ability to communicate the gospel. Nor is the problem a lack of non-believers in our culture: Americans with no religious commitment now comprise our second-largest demographic, behind evangelicals.
I think the issue is one of safety and risk. We are afraid of offending our friends and family, neighbors and colleagues. We are afraid that we will jeopardize our relationship with them. And this fear stands on an even deeper theological problem.
Peter announced that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). At the final judgment, “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
Yet many Christians are not truly convinced that their non-Christian friends will spend eternity in hell. In the back of their minds, they hold out hope that good people who have not trusted in Jesus will still get to heaven. If so, why did our Father watch his Son die a tortured, excruciating death to purchase our salvation? Why did Jesus state so clearly that he is the only way to the Father (John 14:6)? Christians who ignore the cross or refuse to share the gospel grieve the heart of God.
The most practical first step is for believers to begin praying for non-believers by name each day. As we do, God will prepare hearts, open doors and guide our words. Then his Spirit will use us to share the good news of God’s love.
George Bernard Shaw observed, “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” He was right, especially with the message of salvation. Whose name will you call to our Father right now? Who will hear about the grace of God from you today?