Not only that, we also need to think about something else. If we are to make disciples of all nations, then we will have to engage people who do not agree with us. People who do not like us. People who ARE NOT LIKE US. Yet, what I see, over and over again, is that we talk to ourselves. As the church, we typically look for people who are like us, agree with us, and like us. We will happily tell them about Jesus, even though they already know. Why? Why do we have such a hard time breaking out of our shell and sharing the message of Jesus with people, all people?
First, I think we have to look at our common modes of evangelism in this world. We ask them to come to us. We ask them to make a change in their lives, SIMPLY TO HEAR THE MESSAGE. I don't think we realize just how much we ask when we ask people to adapt to our schedule, our culture, and our world simply to hear the message. Now, please, do not hear something I am not saying. I do not believe the church should change the way it worships and functions simply because it makes unbelievers uncomfortable. Church is for the saved. Evangelism is the church reaching out to the unsaved. The problem presents itself in the way we expect unbelievers to alter their thinking simply to hear the message.
I believe our message goes unheard by many who would gladly listen and consider it simply because we ask them to act "Christian" while they hear the message. This is not a good or even a Biblical way of evangelism. Look in the book of Acts. Paul went to the people. He engaged them in their world and told them about another. He told them about a world that was different, better, and needed for everyone. But, he did not expect them to change their ways simply so they could come hear the message. Paul went to them. He did not expect them to come to him. Paul worshiped with and discipled the believers he came in contact with, but he went out to the unbelievers.
Today, we need to rethink how we are doing evangelism. Are we asking people to change their lives simply so they can hear the good news of Christ? Or are we creatively thinking of ways to build relationships with people and sharing the good news in their world? We are called to make disciples of all nations. Everyone we can. People not like us. People who disagree with us, hate us, ridicule us and who will even persecute us. These are the people Christ has told us to go get. Instead, we often huddle up in our buildings, speak only to people who agree with us, and shun those who disagree. This is not evangelism. This is not the church fulfilling its mandate.
Jesus promised power to those who would be witnesses for Him. In Acts 1:8 he said "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES..." Could it be that our churches have lost power because we have failed to be witnesses in this world to all nations? Could it be that God is withholding his blessing because we have been too busy talking to ourselves rather than witnessing to the Resurrected Christ to a hostile world?
Remember, it is God who changes people, not us. When we ask people to change simply so they can hear the message, we are playing the role of God and the unbelieving world is unimpressed with this god. Instead, we should get back to making disciples of Christ. He is first, we are last. If we will be faithful to our mandate, if we will do our job, then God will raise us all Above Reality.