Mainline churches don't have a very good track record when it comes to growing the kingdom or this whole evangelism thing. That's no surprise to anyone. Not one of the mainline denominations have even come close to keeping up with population growth in the last couple of decades.
Let me share with you just some excerpts from this book.
- "A huge number of mainline church members and pastors feel awkward, embarrassed, uncomfortable, defensive or angry when evangelism is mentioned" (p.9).
- "We now have generations of pastors who have little or no training in evangelism. Worse, many pastors have no positive, personal experience with evangelism" (p.9).
- "I cringe at the memories from the years when I pummeled people with those embarrassing questions about salvation! I don't believe in hell now. I think people should make up their own minds, without pressure."
- "I don't think we should do evangelism - it implies other religions are wrong."
- "How can I do evangelism when I believe that many paths lead to God?"
Is it any wonder why mainline churches are losing membership while the population continues to grow?
It's a problem when the evangelism committee that I am a part of at the Presbytery spent the first six months trying to decide what the good news of the gospel is.
- Is it that we are wretched sinners deserving wrath and judgment. But God sent His Son to redeem us and pay for our sins and made us into His children.
- Or is it as some claimed that God created all of us to be good and the good news is to help everyone discover the good that is already in them.
That's exactly the problem.
The gospel is good news because we were dead in our trespasses, but God entered into our lives in Jesus Christ to save us from sin and damnation. Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and rose again from the dead to give me eternal life.
That's good news. I was dead, but now I'm alive. Was blind, but now I see!