The Pew Research Center has found that 25% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are not affiliated with any particular religion. Furthermore, 28% of adults have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion, or no religion at all.
Many people are leaving the church, and a majority of them are under 30.
This means that the face of evangelism is changing today. No longer are we simply introducing someone to Jesus. Increasingly, we are “reintroducing” them to Jesus and addressing the reasons they left the faith.
Often they have developed various misconceptions about Jesus, or have suffered some unpleasant experience within the church, which caused them to leave. This “religious baggage” usually causes additional barriers to hearing the Gospel that must be addressed.
Using the analogy of farming…we often have to replow the soil and replant the seeds.
We enjoy a tremendous privilege as healthcare professionals with the opportunity to interact with people during times of illness, stress, and life changes. Openness to spiritual things is high during these times and our words, actions and prayers can have a strong spiritual impact if done in the right way.
As the face of evangelism changes in this country, we need to be flexible in our approach. Fortunately for us, evangelism has always been a process as the verse above illustrates.
One easy mistake we can make in a busy practice is to quickly jump to planting the seed without properly preparing the ground. In the case of those who have left the church, preparing the ground entails listening to their story. That unfortunately requires precious time, but is essential if we are going to understand where they are spiritually and be able to properly re-introduce them to Jesus. We need to know what those misconceptions are and what they may have experienced previously that has misshaped their view of Jesus.
Remember, we are only one person among many who will spiritually impact those we encounter. As you seek to practice quality medicine, also seek to practice quality evangelism by seeking His leading and guidance.
Prayer: Lord, prepare my heart today to help You farm!