Evangelizing Students, Lesson 002

Sharing The Gospel Free Course, Lesson 002
Trinity Graduate School, Evangelism Course

Possible Barriers to the Gospel

When a coach is preparing to play an opposing team, he spends a great deal of time studying his opponent in order to discern that team’s weaknesses, as well as in what ways that team will be strongest against his own. Likewise, as a lawyer is preparing a case for trial, he will spend as much time studying the case from the opponent’s perspective as he will study it from his own. This allows him to see weaknesses in his own case, and thereby he can make his own case even stronger.

As we prepare to share the Gospel with students, it is beneficial for us to spend time thinking about what barriers we might encounter. By doing so, we are less likely to be surprised or stymied by what we hear. Also, sometimes people are resistant past the point of rationality. Oftentimes there is a good reason for this resistance, if only we take the time to understand their perspective. It helps to know where to look.

Before we go any further, what are some barriers to the Gospel you can think of?

What barriers were present in your own life before you became a Christian?

Family background – One very common barrier to the Gospel is one’s family background. Perhaps that person was raised in a family that never attended church. If so, this can mean that they have never heard about the Gospel, or never opened a Bible, or maybe even they were raised to be hostile to Christianity.

Perhaps that person was raised in a ‘Christian’ family, who went to church and spoke the Christian language, but was filled with hypocrisy. Maybe there was abuse, or infidelity, or addiction, or something else that served to make that person believe that Christianity is hypocritical or false.

Maybe the person was raised in a churchgoing home, but grew up believing Christianity was about being good and going to church, rather than about becoming a child of the Living God. This leads to an impotent Christianity that will not save nor sustain a person, and will in time fall by the wayside of life.

Any of these scenarios will color a person’s receptivity to the Gospel. If you sense resistance from someone to the Gospel, it is always helpful to ask a simple question, like “Did you grow up going to church?” or “What was your spiritual background growing up? How has that influenced who you are today?” The answers will certainly build trust, and allow you to be sensitive to how to more effectively communicate the Gospel to that person.

Think of some of your friends and loved ones. How has their family background shaped their perception of God and Christianity?

Biases and Prejudices – All of us have biases and prejudices. In any given situation, our preconceived notions will influence our first response. If the bias is true in a particular instance, then it allows our first response to be fast and accurate. If the bias is not true, it moves us farter from an effective response. For example, if a slow down every time I approach a certain intersection, because I know it to be a high-accident area and a place where police are known to give a lot of citations, my ‘bias’ has served myself and others well. But if my bias is that I am the best driver on the road and that nothing bad has happened to me yet, I am increasing my chances of trouble.

Likewise, everyone has biases regarding spiritual matters. Perhaps they are naturalist or humanist biases; perhaps they are nihilistic, or relativistic; perhaps they are Muslim or Catholic, or materialistic. Perhaps they are living a sinful lifestyle that greatly clouds their judgment on spiritual matters. Perhaps they are something else, or a combination of factors. In any case, it is helpful to identify a person’s bias early on in a conversation in order to better deal with their situation. If someone has only met arrogant or foolish Christians, they will have a totally different starting point for presenting the Gospel than will someone who has numerous wise, godly friendships with other believers.

What biases have you encountered most frequently? How have you handled them?

Academic Environment- Understand also that for most students, their academic environment poses a real challenge to them accepting the Gospel. Many college professors (in the USA, a ratio of over 30:1) identify themselves as liberals or people who reject traditional values and beliefs. The academic environment challenges even Christian students. As many as 60% or more Christian college freshmen leave the Christian faith during college. Classroom lessons and lectures are structured from a humanist, relativistic, evolutionary viewpoint, and seek to attack and destroy anything perceived as ‘intolerance’ or ‘ignorance’, which is how many professors view Christianity.

With this in mind, know that a student spends hours and hours a week being inundated with this kind of thinking, that God is dead, or that Creation has been disproved, or that Jesus never existed, or any other antagonistic idea. Your voice and viewpoint will be very different from what they have heard from most other sources. This is why it is absolutely vital for you to pray for God to speak through you, so that it is His voice that is being heard.

Recount an experience when you may have encountered antagonism to the Gospel in your own academic experience.

Other Barriers to the Gospel – Space does not allow us to go into an exhaustive examination of all possible barriers a person might have to the Gospel. Broadly speaking, three categories will suffice to help gain understanding – barriers relating to the intellect, barriers relating to the emotions, and barriers relating to ignorance. Each of these types requires a different approach. For example, you would be less likely to engage in debate with someone whose barriers are emotional, perhaps from hurt done them by a Christian when they were younger. It takes much experience and practice in the lives of non-believers to know how to identify the barriers in someone’s life, and how to respond appropriately.

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Sharing The Gospel Free Course, Lesson 002
Trinity Graduate School, Evangelism Course

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5 Comments on "Evangelizing Students, Lesson 002"

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  1. One can also do evangelical school and life as you do.
    How do you repent kwam.That touches people and thinking is put.

  2. jan welling quintans says:

    Repentance is not only feeling sorry of what you’ve done that you think wrong or it is a sin. It is how you change your mind that will rectify your ways or attitude that will lead you not to do it again. The changes will be in action and can be seen in your daily life.

  3. I hope this letter finds you still pressing onto the mark.Am always thankfull when isee and remember your commitment in this faith realizing how the lord is using you in this defficult end time! I am also greatful for the E ncouragement that you normaly use to give this small ministry.

    Once again we thank God for the year has come to the End’ we have to go on matter what.Kindly be informed that we shall be having our two weeks of prayer and fasting so that God to open for us the get of the reigtiousness for we to achieve the goal of this year befor the year to closs’becouse we have aplane to build the orphans house and also to pay the plot rent and also we are requesting kindly you to help us to get the church materials like bible and also some spiritual materials like public instrument becouse in the month of December we want to start Evangelism Door toDoor and also crusade at the one of our market hear in SAMETA DISTRICT and that meeting will run for three good weeks.I am very murch happy to have your teaching and as we unite together as brither we have lean more in witnessing and as from now the student they in number 21 who were desiring to be train and also we are requesting you even if possible you alone to come to do the graduation after compleating the couse we are so very happy to know you and to give us the spiritual teaching we neen alot of teachin.

    The Bible says in the Book of Job4:1-3 that job will you be annoyed if I speak?j cant keep quite anylonger,you have tought many people and given strength to feeble hands,When someone stumbled weak and tied, your God amighty Encouraged him to stand and I know in my heart that we God to unite us together theis apurpos and laso his will so let us to give God chance to guide our heart and also still people have requesting your coming to meat with them for the word of christ,We are praying also for you and the all entire believers and your family and the ministry.waiting your response soon.AMEN.
    Pastor Victor odongo nyagaya

  4. Lazarus Abueng says:

    We are living in a changing world and the word of God is not changing. A world with changing industrial revolutions and worst in Africa political revolutions. This changes are not an error before God, but will sieve true Christians from hypocrites, those who will enter the narrow gate and the wider gate. What I believe is that the winds of hades shall not prevail against the church of Christ. Even if the ruler of this world can bring the fourth Industrial revolution as a powerful barrier to the spread of the Gospel, true Christians shall hold on to the Cross.

  5. Lazarus Abueng says:

    Mathew 10:5-8; Jesus Christ perceived that the Gentiles preconceived notions will influence their response to their first hearing of the Gospel and demotivate His apostles in their first mission. But as for the lost sheep’s of Israel, who were waiting for the arrival of the Messiah from old age, most of them will have interest in listening to the message carried by apostles, thus motivating them to carry on with their mission. Therefore, evangelizing to students requires our collective strategy to target our audience according to our maturity in spreading the Gospel

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