Last week Tom Short, a man who preaches on college campuses around the country, spent two afternoons preaching at West Virginia University. It was a great experience for Christ Church and gave us a good vision for evangelism. Here are some of my observations from watching Tom preach and from listening to him talk on Monday night.
Observations from Tom’s Preaching
1. The Gospel is almost always a breaking into someone’s peaceful life. People do not like to be told that they are wrong. My sons observed how many people did not seem to care about something as important as their own salvation. This is true. Men and women do not want to believe that they headed for Hell. They think they are really good, moral people. When a preacher tells them they are not they tend to react with anger or apathy.
2. The creation versus evolution debate is not going away. A vast majority of college students assume evolution to be true. This assumption shapes the way they think about the world, the people around them, the Bible, and Christians.
3. Most non-Christians do not know what they are talking about when it comes to other religions. Very few of them actually know what Islam or Bhuddism teaches. There are exceptions. But most non-Christians have their beliefs formed by what they heard, not by actually investigating/researching a religion.
4. Most non-Christians do not know what the Bible teaches. They might know a verse or a Bible story. But that is about all. Their knowledge of the Bible is weak.
5. Non-Christians love to attack the Bible. As Tom preached this was a constant theme in all the questions. How do we know the Bible is true? Why should we believe the Bible?
6. The doctrine of Hell is also one of the most questioned and hated teachings of the Bible.
7. It is interesting that Hell, evolution, and the authority of the Bible are three areas the Christian church is compromising on and it is also the areas where Church is under attack. It is odd that we are retreating from battles we should be fighting with vigor.
Points from Tom’s Teaching on Monday Night
1. The WVU campus provides us with a unique opportunity. There are almost 30,000 students there. Many of them are unbelievers or backslidden Christians. We would be foolish at Christ Church to ignore this field that is right in front of us.
2. Persistence is one of the keys to evangelism. This means persistence as individuals and as a church.
3. It is always awkward when you bring up spiritual issues with people. It is never easy or normal. People don’t like to talk about these things. But often after you talk with them they are glad for the conversation.
4. A godly home and marriage is one of the greatest apologetics in our world where divorce and disrespect are rampant.
5. The greatest change he has seen in his thirty years of preaching is that people now see Christians as a threat. It used to be that non-Christians would have a live and let live mentality towards believers. But now they see us as threat to progress. We are the ones who destroy human rights (homosexuality). We are the ones who hold back science with our views of creation. We are the ones who hold women down. So now many atheists are aggressively trying to stamp us out.
6. It usually takes 5-7 conversations for someone to come to Christ. There is a long term commitment to seeing men and woman come to Christ.
7. Those who have time, such as single men, should put those who are seeking Christ in contact with older men who do not have time to evangelize. I really liked this point and think our single men have done this well. Most of us with an 8-5 job, a wife, and children cannot and should not spend time at campus evangelizing. But we can still have a role to play as someone comes to Christ.