How to Fight Evangelism Fatigue
Fighting Evangelism Fatigue
Your brother is an atheist. Your neighbor is into New Age and Tarot cards. Your boss thinks Christianity is based on ancient mythology. The waiter at your favorite lunch spot is a Muslim. Your chiropractor is simply indifferent about God.
And some days – if you’re really honest – you just don’t care very much. At least, not enough to initiate a spiritual conversation with them.
Let me be the first to confess: there are times when I suffer from evangelism fatigue. I know I should care, I know I should reach out to them, I know I should talk to them about Jesus – but my motivation meter is hovering at low voltage.
Maintaining a high-energy evangelistic lifestyle isn’t easy, is it? Sometimes our passion for personal outreach begins to flicker. Call it unspiritual. Call it sin. But let’s be honest enough to call it what it undeniably is: very, very real. So what can we do about it? Here are some steps I take when these doldrums hit.
Admit it to God and ask for His help.
As soon as I sense that my concern for spiritual seekers is waning, I ask God to give me a renewed desire to reach others with the Gospel. After all, Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost. When we sincerely ask God to heighten our compassion for those outside the faith, we can have confidence He will respond. And when we begin to pray for specific seekers we know, it’s difficult for us to remain indifferent about their eternity.
Make a call and get a date on the calendar.
All of us know someone who’s far from God. Usually, they’re only a phone call or an email away. By taking a risk and inviting them to lunch or to play golf, we’re setting up a rendezvous during which a spiritual conversation might flourish. Putting a date on the calendar gives us a focus for our prayers and provides an impetus for us to prepare.
Keep resources handy.
I find I’m much more apt to get into a spiritual discussion with waiters, airplane passengers, or taxi drivers if I’m carrying a seeker-sensitive Christian book that I can put into their hands. That way, I don’t shy away from encounters because I know I won’t have time to answer every question. Instead, I can initiate a conversation and then give them a resource that they can read later.
Buy lunch for an evangelism enthusiast.
Every church has a few people who are especially effective in sharing Jesus with others. Why not offer to get together for a meal so you can catch their contagious Christianity? Whenever I dine with Mark Mittelberg, Alex McFarland, Garry Poole, or other friends who always seem to be on the front lines of evangelistic action, I walk away with fresh motivation to engage in the same kind of spiritual adventures.
Ultimately, I want to be the kind of Christian that Dr. Jack Sternberg encountered. Sternberg, a cancer physician from a conservative Jewish background, was very distant from God. But here’s what he wrote about an incident that occurred while he was practicing medicine in Arkansas:
“One woman with terminal breast cancer was in her early 30’s, with a husband and young child whom she would soon leave widowed and motherless. Yet she seemed more concerned about my spiritual welfare – in my knowing Jesus – than the fact that she was dying . She saw my lostness, my separation from God, as a greater tragedy than her own illness.
“She trusted this Jesus, then and for eternity. God had allowed illnesses to ravage her, yet she still loved, worshiped, and followed Him. She seemed confident about her future and genuinely concerned about mine. And that overwhelmed me.”
This woman was salt and light as Jesus intended all of us to be – and Sternberg found faith in Christ as a result. Sometimes the first step in becoming more like her is a very simple prayer:
“God, help me catch a glimpse of how much lost people matter to you – and then give me the desire and courage to reach them for You.”