An Evangelism Explosion survey of 1002 Americans conducted by Lifeway Research in December 2021 found an alarming disparity between unbelievers’ openness to talking about spiritual things and Christians’ willingness to actually speak about them.*
Some key takeaways from the survey are as follows:
“This study reveals that most Americans are open to talking about faith,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
But the sad, sorry realization is that the conversation is simply not happening as often as it ought.
Why is that? Can we blame cancel culture? The current war on Christianity? Closed mindedness on the part of the masses? New restrictions on religious liberty?
“It really isn’t about religious liberty, people not wanting to hear, or religion being off-limits. The reason conversations are not happening about the Christian faith is that Christians are not bringing it up.”
“Now, perhaps more than ever, people are open to conversations about faith [A whopping 32% of respondents said that since COVID, they are MORE open to talking about spiritual things], yet few Christians actually take the opportunity to engage in personal evangelism,” says Dr. John B. Sorensen, President and CEO of Evangelism Explosion International.
At a time when “one in 5 religiously unaffiliated Americans (20%) say they are more interested in spiritual matters,” it is heartbreaking to find that some 60% report that their “friends who claim to be Christians rarely talk about their faith.”
*About 38% of respondents were identified as already having some measure of Christian belief.
It’s hard to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” when we can’t seem to open our mouths to speak to our neighbors and friends. How can we close our lips when he has “commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).
“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (I Cor. 9:16 ESV)
When God came to Gideon, He called him a warrior. Gideon didn't see himself as a warrior. In fact, he said he was from the weakest clan and he was the least of his clan. Gideon also questioned God's ability to work in his life. He wanted to know why God had abandoned them. He wanted to know where all the wonders were that his fathers had told him about.
Many people are just like Gideon. They see themselves as weak and of little value. They often ask "Why did this happen to me?" or "Where was God when I needed him?" But God didn't see him as weak or of little value. God called him a warrior.
Never underestimate something because it seems to be small. David's bothers underestimated him, but the guy who underestimated him the most was Goliath, and he lost his life.
How can something or someone so small be so powerful?
It's like the movie Lion King when Simba was a Cub and the hyenas had him cornered. When he roared, they laughed at him. So he roared again, only this time they cower down and whimper. Why? Because Simba had someone backing him up--when he roared, Mufasa roared behind him.
It doesn't matter how small or weak you are, as long as you have someone big and strong backing you up. Gideon was a warrior because God had his back.
"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10).
"It's official. 2012 is the year faith became more than just a post-game platitude," says Jesse Carey of RELEVANT Magazine. He cites as examples several top athletes who have chosen to use their fame and celebrity as a platform to share the Gospel message. "Superstars like Tim Tebow, Olympians Gabby Douglas and Lolo Jones and underdogs like Jeremy Lin and Bubba Watson," he notes, "made more headlines for their faith than their game ..."
Here's what a few of them had to say:
"I have so many things to work on, and so many ways that I fail. But that's what grace is all about. And I constantly wake up every morning trying to get better, trying to improve, trying to walk closer to God." Tim Tebow, Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback
"Golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to reach as many people as I can." Bubba Smith, Master's champion golfer
"When other people see me play basketball ... the way I treat my teammates, the opponents, the refs--that's all a reflection of God's image and God's love. So that's the stuff I try to focus on." Jeremy Lin, NBA basketball phenom
"I would say the thing Tim Tebow and I have most in common is the thing that's most important to us, and that's our faith and our relationship with Christ, and everything flows through that. It's an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence. I'm very grateful." Collin Klein, Heisman Trophy nominee, and winning quarterback of the Kansas State Wildcats
"I am so grateful God has truly blessed me! Remember to always give Him the glory for He is great! ... I give all the glory to God. It's kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him, and the blessing falls down on me." Gabby Douglas, Olympic gold medal gymnast
These are men and women who have made a conscious choice to do what they do for the approval of the Lord rather than the approval of men. Yet you don't need to be a world-class athlete to choose to use your life as a platform for witness. In fact, we are each one called to do the same. "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. ... And whatever you do, do it heartily as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of your inheritance. It is the Lord Christ Whom you serve" (Colossians 3:17, 23-24).
So whether your life plays out on the front pages of the newspaper, on the cover of tabloid magazines, and on the broadcasts of major cable news networks, or in the business office, the neighborhood park, or the aisles of the local grocery store, make 2013 the year when you choose to make your life a platform for bringing all glory to God! In the words of Gabby Douglas, "It's a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him, and the blessing falls down on us."