Christians are least likely to feel confident sharing their faith with marginalised communities – refugees, asylum seekers, those who are homeless. But those are the people most likely to be living in gospel poverty, says Efrem Buckle. Let’s start with the one, and reach out with confidence
One step. One person. Who could you share the gospel with?
In a recent survey commissioned by London City Mission (LCM), the stark reality of who Christians are least likely to share the gospel with became clear. The survey results highlight the attitudes of practising Christians towards sharing their faith - which are both encouraging and challenging - and urge us to reconsider our approach to evangelism. It’s time to step out in boldness, reach outside our comfort zones and start with the one.
As Christians, we often find sharing our faith within familiar circles - unsurprisingly, among close friends, family and colleagues - the easiest. But those from different social backgrounds (30 per cent) and marginalised individuals, including the homeless, refugees and asylum seekers (20 per cent) are among those with whom we are least likely to share our faith.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to hear the gospel in a way that resonates with them
Encouragingly, the statistics also suggest that four in five practising Christians are confident in sharing their faith with non-Christians, and feel that doing so is an important part of being a Christian. Three quarters of Christ followers desire to engage more frequently in conversations about their beliefs. The challenge lies not in the willingness but more in the practical steps of boldness. How can we be courageous and connect with non-believers on our doorsteps?
Building a bridge
We know that half of all Londoners live in gospel poverty, which means they don’t know a Christian who can share their faith with them. We also know that those same people are likely to be part of our most deprived communities. The same will be true of most places across the UK. It’s down to us to start building bridges to share the gospel.
Often, our natural inclination can be to shy away from uncomfortable conversations out of fear of potential negative reactions. However, as we align ourselves with God, we’ll come to realise that these perceived barriers are not as difficult to overcome as we may think. Let’s use these statistics as an encouragement and challenge ourselves to step beyond our comfort zone and assume the best about the openness of those we encounter.
Take the next step
Sometimes evangelism is presented as this big, scary thing when, in reality, it can be as simple as being open to the opportunities around us. Saying “hello” to someone I would normally walk straight past, or asking how my delivery driver is doing can become - and have become - the first steps in a life-changing conversation. When I engage in evangelism, I have to step out, relying on the Lord every time. I trust that he will lead me and guide me.
The challenge lies not in the willingness but in the boldness
I also firmly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to hear the gospel in a way that resonates with them. London City Mission has just launched the ‘Everyday Evangelism’ resource hub and podcast, aiming to equip and encourage Christians to share their faith effectively. These resources serve as powerful tools for Christians and churches eager to act, helping to build bridges and share the gospel with those in our immediate communities.
As Christians, opposition isn’t something to which we are immune, as seen in the life of Christ Jesus, our saviour. But let’s not allow this to deter us from the abundant opportunities before us. Let’s be instruments of God’s love in the lives of those who are longing for the good news.