Monday, August 18, 2008

Why Don't We Share the Good News at Work?

I've been reading Mark Dever's book - The Gospel & Personal Evangelism, in part because it's an area of much needed growth in my life. I don't often share the gospel with others and in particular, I seldom do so at work. Yet, I'm convinced that a normal, thriving Christian life is marked by regular practice of personal evangelism.

Apparently, this isn't just my problem. In speaking with other Christians, I've discovered that many of us fail to regularly share the good news of Christ redemptive work. So why don't we evangelize more often? In his book, Dever offers a number of excuses/reasons for our failure but a couple caught my attention:

"Evangelism could cause problems at work" - Now, we certainly don't want to be irresponsible with the use of our time at work. If our practice of evangelism during work hours impedes our ability to work responsibly, it could bring disrepute to the very message we wish to share. However, for every person who might fall into that trap, I believe there are many more who neglect to share the gospel precisely because it could legitimately cause problems for us at work. Active evangelism could invite ridicule from our co-workers or possibly hinder our prospects for promotion. In other words, sharing the good news of our Savior could actually cost us something and we are ensnared by what the Bible calls "the fear of man".

"Other things seem more urgent" - This is simply the tyranny of the urgent. It's the weak excuse of a hurried life that has little time for what is truly important. To be honest, it's one of my greatest hurdles to regular evangelism. I get so caught up with the pace and responsibilities of work that I forget about those who are around me. I forget that many of them live without the joyful hope of an eternity with God, but rather face a real prospect of judgment. In view of eternity, what could be more important than sharing the good news of Christ and His work? Yet, I am often too hurry to even consider those around me.

After reading and pondering the early chapters of the book, I've had to face another reality of my lack of personal evangelism. It is simply that I do not love "my neighbor" as I ought. I like them well enough to have lunch with them, to discuss our families or share how I spent my weekend. But I'm not moved to actually share this eternal message with them, especially if I suspect that it's not going to be well received. It's embarrassingly true - I love tranquility more than sharing the gospel with my "neighbor" at work.

Is there hope for someone like me? I'd like to think so - starting first with repentance for my heart so lacking in love for my neighbor. In doing so, I need to affirm the good of the gospel for me personally, considering the favor that is shown to me in light of the cross. I also need to invest my confidence in God's transforming work through the gospel, not in my performance. It's not a question of whether I'm "doing evangelism right" but rather my faithful proclamation of the gospel. If the gospel is truly "the power of God for salvation" as Paul asserts in Romans 1:16, then I need to trust in its life giving power to those who are dead in sin.

Any other advice for someone like me? How about you? Are you sharing the gospel regularly with those whom God has placed around you at work? What hinders you?


Rachel Mc said...

I agree with you, sharing the gospel wouldn't be received well where I work at, which is ironic because I work for a non profit in the health industry managing a free clinic for the under insured and un insured. I have the following on a letter size piece of paper on my bulletin board. When you enter my office you can't miss it: Good morning! This is God. I will be handling all your problems today, and I will not need your help. So relax and have a GREAT day!" That sign has gotten a lot of responses and then I use that as a spring board to BRIEFLY talk about my faith. I am not comfortable sharing the gospel and I wonder, are some of us given a "pass" to not evangilize? Some of us just aren't comfortable or good at starting a gospel message and leading others to Christ....
I wonder about that.

Craver Vii said...

It is helpful for me to know that God is happy with my obedience, and it is the Holy Spirit who does the real convincing, not me.

Congratulations Rachel Mc, you don't get a pass not to evangelize, which means you have the incredible opportunity to be a first hand eye-witness as God opens the eyes of the blind and delivers His message through your obedient lips. :-)

L.L. Barkat said...

A great turning point for me was when I realized that most (if not all) people have at least some conception of and some feelings about God-- sometimes even quite positive, if misguided. From then on, I stopped seeing it as my job to tell them everything and began instead to question. Tell me what spirituality looks like to you. Tell me this, tell me that, tell me, tell me, tell me....

Many times, in the telling, people find the important questions. And I am happy to answer.

Every Square Inch said...

rachel mc - Sorry, until I get my "pass", you're not getting yours either. :-) Seriously, even the small steps you're taking to speak of your faith is are seeds planted in obedience to God and He will bring forth fruit.

Craver - yes, it's God who brings about life in a dead heart. Yet, he uses us to carry the message...doesn't make sense to me but then again, God doesn't do things my way and we can all be thankful for that.

LL - you've touched on something that I want to blog on sometime related to's the idea of simply asking questions in the context of a normal conversation. There's a really good book about that called "Questioning Evangelism". Thanks for sparking that thought.

Red Letter Believers said...

Great thought provoking insights. Over at redletterbelivers blog ( we referenced this posting and expanded on your thoughts.

our approach is "one a day."

you can't save the world, but you can speak a single good word of grace a day.

Every Square Inch said...


Thanks for your thoughts - I'm heading to your blog to check out your post