Evangelism in today’s American Youth Culture is dramatically different than it ever was. Apologetics, the way I was taught was more of a “debate and argue” format. Where one person (in this case the Christian) has the rebuttal to every possible question (which was said as “giving an answer to our faith”). I believe that in the “modern” era, this approach was incredibly effective. People just 20 years ago were looking for cold hard facts and when you could debate and give them facts that would repute an argument they were proposing…they were hooked.
Somewhere along the line, there was a huge shift in thinking. When exactly this thought change occurred is still under debate. However, the fact remains that evangelism has changed. In the book UnChristian, several different things were studied. This idea of what evangelism mode is most effective was part of the study. Here is a little bit of what was discovered: Televangelism, door-to-door witnessing and tract evangelism COMBINED total a whopping 1% effective rate with people ages 16-29! 1%! (Do you know how much money is spent on tracts each year? More than 1% of the budget, that’s for sure!). Also discovered was that “Relational Evangelism” evangelism which is in and through a trusted relationship has a 78% effective rate!
Non-Christian young adults, in order to come to Christ in Today’s culture, don’t need a lecture on how they are wrong, but a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). Our mode of Apologetics NEEDS to change. Do we still need answers? OH YES! Do we need to argue them into the kingdom? NO WAY!
How do I know this works? I’ve seen the power of this type of evangelism. There’s a teen in our ministry named Paul, who started coming with his girlfriend who was a student of ours. His first event he came to was simply a movie night. No talk afterwards, no shove em into Jesus trick at the end…simply getting together (non-Christians and Christians) to watch a movie. This caused Paul to build relationships with our other Christian teens. Even after he and his girlfriend broke up, he kept coming, because he felt welcome with us, he felt accepted and loved, so he remained. Eventually, he accepted Christ in his life and is now looking to get into ministry! Relational Evangelism works!