How to Overcome Obstacles to Evangelism
There once was a young family who grew up in a wealthy Midwestern farming area. The
family had 6 brothers; each one of them would be entitled to an equal share and sized
field to work in and earn a living when they grew up. They came from a long line of
farmers who made a good profit because the Lord had blessed their efforts. One by one,
the older generations past on and then these young men’s’ father past away. They and
their families inherited the fields from Daddy. The question confronting each young man
was: Would they follow in their Daddy’s footsteps of responsible farming.
The first young man was rather dull in nature. He didn’t understand nor try to understand
how to farm so therefore he did little. He never succeeded in farming because he didn’t
take the time to learn or practice farming when he was with his Father. So the field grew
The next young man was rather skittish about this whole farming business. He had heard
how unsuccessful other farmers had been. He had heard of droughts, famines, locusts
and floods. Rather than risk a personal loss, he elected to take another job while the field
grew with weeds.
The third young man was apathetic to the farming business. He was too lazy and not
motivated He would sleep in every day hoping that the seeds would just sort of fall on
the soil and magically be successful He didn’t want any part in the work so he gave up
on farming before he started; so the field grew with weeds.
The fourth young man was older than the rest and wiser than his brothers. He had
planted seeds year after yeas but the results were mixed and unreliable. He had so many
up and down years that he just stuck with the primitive methods hoping the job would get
done that way. He decided to retire early and take a buyout. The ground once again
Another young man was caught up in tractor pulls, antique shows, farmer gatherings and
the like. He would repaint his barns and show off his new farming equipment. He was
the techno-farmer! But he was always too busy to plant because there was more pressing
work to be done around. The field became overgrown with weeds.
A final young man wasn’t like the rest of his brothers. He had patiently listened to his
Father about the importance of knowledge in farming. He was also very confident in his
abilities to plant correctly and knew that God would take care of the rest. He wasn’t
afraid to fail. He cared like no one else for his crops; going out early in the morning to
care for the field. He took it upon himself to check up on the field often and he was
excited about his work because he knew it made a difference. He had had painful
experiences with farming in the past but he made his weaknesses his strengths and grew
from them. He was never too busy to plant seeds and care for his crops. He let nothing
distract him from his task and he wanted to do right by his Father. He wanted to carry on
There is one thing for certain that the Devil doesn’t want us to do: that is evangelism.
The biggest obstacles we face are the ones we’ve bought into. There are many counter-
productive attitudes within a congregation that will keep it from evangelism. Today let’s
look at 5 common obstacles that stand in the way of evangelism.
Obstacle #1: Ignorance
- Biblical ignorance is more common in churches than we think. Yet, the
bigger problem is lack of confidence in our own selves to convey the truth we
- We just don’t know how to do it. Many times we have no method, we have
no proven technique with which we are comfortable.
- Proverbs 2:10 The value of spiritual knowledge. Learn a system!
- Luke 1:77 This is why John the Baptist came to preach. We know the Lord
from the knowledge we receive. We need to be a system worth a try.
- Establish the Lordship of Christ, the authority of God’s word and the reliance
of it for all answers.
- Lead them by the hand of commitment.
Obstacle #2: Fear of Rejection and Failure
In 1858 the Illinois legislature, using an obscure statute, sent Stephen A. Douglas
to the U.S. senate instead of Abraham Lincoln, although Lincoln had won the popular
vote. When a sympathetic friend asked Lincoln how he felt, he said, “ Like the boy who
stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh.” Sometimes we don’t
know what to do when we’re rejected. What we have to do is pick ourselves up again!
Problem: Fear of Rejection
Our boat is sunk before we get out of the harbor. “You wouldn’t want to become
a Christian, would you?” Our approach is usually haphazard and half-way. We don’t
pray enough. The world only rejects people it doesn’t like being around. Unfortunately,
evangelism is really selling yourself! People will be won to the Jesus they see in you.
- Most of us are scared. We’re afraid that someone will ask a question we don’t
know the answer to. We may fear our prospect will become angry.
Solution: Saturate yourself in the Word and in prayer.
- John 14:16 The Holy Spirit is with the Christian to help him heal with
- Hebrews 7:25 Jesus helps us handle rejection.
Problem: Fear of Failure
Most churches have never failed at evangelism – because they never even tried.
-What is the biggest failure in evangelism? The one none of the evangelism
books talk much about: it is never even trying!
Solution: Oliver Goldsmith said “ Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in
rising each time we fail.
- Hebrews 4:15-16 says Jesus understand the pressure on us. He knows the
difficulties we endure personally. He went to the cross for your pain and
Obstacle #3: Indifference
This is the reason our churches are merging, dying or holding on. Though the
word is not in the Bible, the concept is taught throughout. We must care enough to make
the extra effort.
Problem: Indifference to our people
- I don’t know where Christians ever got the attitude (I don’t want to bother
people). If someone hadn’t bothered me; I’d be hell-bound right now!
Solution: Each on of us must examine our spiritual walk with the Lord.
- Acts 24:25 Paul’s message bothered Felix.
- Revelation 3:15-16 speaks of a lukewarm church. Laodicea – The church
never did anything.
- The gospel message is more important than anything the world is doing right
now! Anything! How could any attempt to talk to someone about Jesus be a
Problem: Indifference to our potential
- Many Christians have given up. We say: “ MY personality isn’t outgoing.”
We’ve gone door to door before. It doesn’t work. We often think “let him
live the way he wants to.”
- Moses was weak in speech. God caused him to give the greatest speeches.
- When it comes to personality, God used all sort with the disciples, prophets,
etc. If He can use Peter; He can use anybody.
- Tell them the good news: His death took our sins. His burial is symbolized in
baptism. It gives us new life. His resurrection gives us the hope of
- I’ll do it my way. Even if my way hasn’t worked in 50 years! The way we
approach winning people to the Lord need to change how people really are.
The methods should change constantly but the message never will.
Obstacle #4: Bad Experiences
Problem: We’re afraid to be labeled. (Hypocrite, Sinner, Jesus Freak, etc.) --- --
- People might think we’re wild-eyed fanatics. We need to put ourselves in their
places not assuming anything. The answer to our fears is to show the people our
Solution: Perfect love casts out fear. Jesus had perfect love.
- Imagine someone totally opposite of you. Jesus picked the woman at the well
to talk to. Talk about opposites!
- Luke 5:1-7 talks of Peter fishing all night and not catching anything. Past
experience is not indicative of future results.
Obstacle #5: Busyness
Problem: We’re busy with distractions.
- Mowing the yard, paying the bills, making the meeting house safe, greeting
your friends, getting ready for class.
Is there anything wrong with these things? NO! Putting them ahead of the
Kingdom of God is! We live in an age where the busier you are; the better you
are. I think we are so church absorbed and self-absorbed that we loose sight of
what Jesus wants us to truly be absorbed in. Do we ever get to a point where we
say “enough meetings. Let’s plant some spiritual seeds!”
- Luke 10:38-42 Martha was distracted by busyness. She was so wrapped up in
the potluck dinner that she forgot about discipleship!
Solution: Block out distractions. Dedicated an hour a week to work in your field.
Problem: We’re busy compartmentalizing.
Aren’t we already paying a guy to do that? We make a difference between the
work of the church and individuals but there’s no difference when it comes to
evangelism. Jesus wants us up and out of our comfort zones.
- Genesis 4:3-7 Cain was going through the motions. Wasn’t giving his best to
God. Evangelism is not just another work of the church. It’s the whole
purpose of the church.
- Evangelism is not a time slot, not an activity. It’s a way of life! The Bible
says that there will be frustrations and discouragements. The biggest problem
of all is when part of a church is on fire to spread Jesus’ message to the
community and the other part of the church is not!
How can be remove the obstacles that the Devil has planted to doing evangelism? Pray
for laborers. Make yourself ready. Read the Book of Acts. Ask how you can help.
Only the devil makes evangelism complicated. Complicated so we won’t be tempted to
engage in it. Jesus said to “take up your cross and follow me.”