Certainly, the Gospel of Jesus is magnificently good news. How in his great love the one true and living God has come into this broken world, in Jesus his Son. How through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God offers us forgiveness, reconciliation, and new life with him now and forever. How in Jesus the Kingdom of God has come near, but one day it shall be fully revealed, and all creation shall be made new.
If God has done all that, then the very least we Christians can do share is share the good news with fellow human beings.
Actually, it is only the Holy Spirit who can truly convince people to turn to God through faith in Jesus, and enable people to receive new life in him. It can only happen as the Spirit of God moves in power.
Nevertheless, God generously partners with us in all this, and calls us to be active in sharing Christ with others. If we Christians were doing that more often, and more effectively, would the church in western societies be declining in the way it is?
Sure, many people in secular western societies are a tough audience: sceptical, relativistic, individualistic, pleasure-loving, uninformed or misinformed about Christianity, apathetic, and sometimes hostile and angry. And in our multi-cultural, multi-faith society, many New Zealanders now come from radically different religious backgrounds.
All that makes it all the more important that we believers must faithfully share Jesus with people in our society, and do so well.
Are there some problems with Christian messaging, in what is said (or not said) by speakers in church, and what is said (or not said) in conversations by ordinary Christians? Do we lack sufficient confidence in the Gospel, or lack conviction that sharing Christ with others really matters? Or have we distorted the Gospel?
In speaking of Jesus and the Gospel, we may say little or nothing, or be vague or unclear. On the other hand, we may say too much. We may fail to convey love, empathy, or sensitivity. We may inadequately connect with people, or insufficiently listen. We may be too formulaic. We may come across as aggressive or intimidating. Or our manner and actions may discredit our message.
In our challenging environment, it is so crucial that both preachers and ordinary Christians share Jesus with love, clarity, confidence, and authenticity. That we give reasons for our faith, and do so with gentleness and respect. That we are sensitive, listen, and empathise. And that, above all, we speak as prayerfully led by the Spirit of God.