Gospel & Culture blog
By Ken Nehrbass
This year's theme of the Evangelical Missiological Society was "missions and evangelism in a secular age." There were many discouraging trends about the "nones"- millennials who no longer see themselves as religious. Much of the discussion centered on how we can help make the church more palatable to secular folks. A palatable church would be a compassionate one (Eph 4:32), one that creates space for disagreement and questioning of the faith, one that is not judgmental (Matt 7:1). This doesn't mean watering down the message, or selling out to the world, it just means sending a message of love in a way that the world can understand.
Yet the more I thought about my own experience with missions and evangelism in a secular age, I began to think through the men and women I know who have moved from "nones" (non religious) to faith in Christ in the past ten years. As I recalled the faith journeys of these new members of the family of Christ, I realized that each of them converted because 1) they were in a crisis in their lives, and 2) a Christian explained that the Bible is trustworthy, that God demands repentance, and that following Jesus is the only way to peace and purpose.
In other words, it was the testimony of believers, and the power of God's word, that brought these people from secular to saved. Just like in the gospels and the book of Acts-- Jesus and the other preachers told people "repent and believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). Reaching a "none" is just like reaching people from the first century Palestine, and like reaching people from every other century: the Word of God, the testimony of believers, and the timing of the Holy Spirit in a person's life are the keys to evangelism.
© 2015 Kenneth Nehrbass. All Rights Reserved.
Kenneth Nehrbass, Ph.D.
Associate Professor at Biola University, Author, Pastor