Overcoming Modern Obstacles to Reaching the Lost

It seems there are more obstacles to reaching the lost than ever before, yet God still calls us to overcome those obstacles and share the Good News.

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It seems there are more obstacles to reaching the lost than ever before, yet God still calls us to overcome those obstacles and share the Good News. I think of this every time I’m in a coffee shop.

Months ago I was sitting in a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon after church. It was on the other side of town. My wife was traveling and I felt like going someplace different. It was definitely that.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that I was the only male in the place. It was literally an entire coffee shop full of women. It was a strange feeling. A few more guys eventually came in, but the numbers were pretty steady at about 3 guys and 22 women. Other than that, it was a typical coffee shop scene.

Two Feet Away and Worlds Apart

The young woman at the table to my left was your average coffee shop patron: headphones on and tapping away on her laptop. Same on my right. Other tables were groups of two or three women doing what women do a thousand times better than us guys: Talking and openly sharing what’s going on in their lives.

As I read through my journal I came across some notes I made three months earlier about how hard it is to do evangelism in America. What I saw and experienced in that coffee shop underscored my thoughts.

A List of Modern Obstacles to Reaching the Lost

Have you noticed that part of the reason evangelism is so hard anymore is that all of the traditional ways the church used to be involved in society have been taken over/outsourced by the state or nonprofits? Consider this list of modern obstacles to reaching the lost I made:

Ministry Need Now Replaced by
Homeless / Poor Government or NonProfits
Troubled / Stressed Psychiatrists/Rx Medications
Hungry Also outsourced (and now illegal to feed on the street in most cities)
Orphans Outsourced
Widows Outsourced to Social Security, Nursing Homes, or Government programs
Single Moms Same
Disabled / Elderly Same

And to my point earlier, anyone not in the above categories is isolated by either architecture or technology, or both. Homes aren’t built with front porches anymore. People encased in their cars drive them home and straight into their attached garages, never to be seen until the re-emerge, cocooned and backing out again. And, like those ladies at the coffee shop, if someone’s not locked away in their car, they’re locked away in the private world between their headphones.

Overcoming Evangelism Obstacles

The challenges of our present age should not deter us. Our generation desperately needs the gospel just like every generation before it. Let us look for creative ways to share the Good News to a lost and dying world.

As I think about these things, I ask myself: What do we do? How does a Christian woman connect and engage another woman, to hopefully have a chance to share the gospel with her? It’s hard enough to reach us guys—rarely will a guy gladly engage in any meaningful way with a guy who is a total stranger.

Years ago I wrote a blog post on my old blog entitled If a Missionary Came to America. In it I wondered what fresh ideas a missionary might bring to overcome these barriers.

The challenges of our present age should not deter us. Our generation desperately needs the gospel just like every generation before it. Let us look for creative ways to share the Good News to a lost and dying world.

I once had the opportunity to ask a retired missionary that question. He said the answer these days seems to be home groups. I’m not sure I agree, but I’m also too ignorant to completely disagree. I’ll say this though, I don’t have any experience with home groups resulting in the conversion of unbelievers. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen; I just haven’t seen it.

I strongly believe there are at least two time-tested means God uses to reach the lost: Gospel tracts and Open Air Preaching.

Granted, not everyone is called to be an open air preacher. And there are some open air preachers who would be better to keep quiet. Still, in my seminary classes I’ve been studying church history since last August. One constant through them is that, as far as I can recall, in every generation God has raised up itinerant men to preach the gospel in the open air.

And while some look down on gospel tracts because of some infamously inflammatory ones, tracts are a great evangelism tool. God still saves sinners through them. Below are two videos that talk about the power gospel tract evangelism.

Disclaimer: I don’t know the man in the first video, nor his ministry, but what he says in the video is a good word (about 3min long)

What do you think? What have you found that works in engaging strangers? How have you been able to overcome these modern obstacles to engage people? My headphones are off. My laptop is closed. I’m all ears.

Photo by Verschoren Maurits from Pexels

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