Barna's "Reviving Evangelism", Part 1
Let’s face it. When it comes to the Gospel and our duty as Christians to spread it, we’re not winning.
I am not simply cursing the darkness as I write these words. I believe there is a bright path forward. But it begins with an honest assessment of ourselves, our messaging, and the world entrusted to our stewardship.
Two weeks ago, I downloaded “Reviving Evangelism,” a 2019 George Barna report detailing research on renewing evangelism in America. What I discovered in the report has challenged me to greater boldness, though perhaps not in a way you might think.
I grew up hearing “gospel preaching” from my childhood. My first pastor was an itinerant evangelist prior to his coming to our church. I remember hearing him preach gospel messages Sunday in, Sunday out. It’s a heritage I will always cherish.
But times are different now. According to Barna, “cultural and demographic changes over recent decades have led to a season of unprecedented challenge.” Few today describe themselves as on a spiritual quest, or as sensing a need for spiritual truth. And yet, the number of people who describe themselves as lonely or isolated has doubled over the last ten years. Together these findings show a widening disconnect between what we Christians count as spiritual and the felt needs of unbelievers.
Meanwhile nearly 60% of practicing Christians hardly ever talk about their faith with someone else. Indeed, only half of Millennial Christians believe that it is right to even try sharing the gospel with someone.
And so Barna asks: “What is it about our community [as believers] or our presentation that is disconnected from the needs of our neighbors?” and “What has gone so wrong with our gospel presentation that a majority of Christians hesitates to wholeheartedly support it?”
Questions like these are ones we seek to answer through the philosophy and messaging of the Gospel Story-arc™ Project. To show you what I mean, I first need to clarify exactly what our philosophy is. I’ll do that in my next post…