Today the Christian community celebrates the risen Jesus, the only religious figure to ever have come back from the dead. There are many unique things about Jesus, but this is the main one.
In fact, if Christians would have always been preaching this fact in their evangelism, instead of trying to scare people into heaven, I think there’d have been a lot more truly saved Christians in the world. Yes, hell is a real place of eternal conscious torment, but it should never be the reason anyone becomes a Christian. It should be because of Jesus, his deity, death, and resurrection.
When Paul stood on Mars Hill and witnessed to the Greeks, he used this approach. He began with Genesis and ended with the Resurrection. If fear of hell had been what should motivate people to believe in Jesus, surely Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, would have shown us by example. Instead, he appealed to reason, to verifiable evidence. And so should we.
Where does hell fit into all this? At the very least, it should be our motivation-- to spread the gospel. Knowing people could wind up in hell for eternity should literally be the fire lit under us that compels us to stop sitting on our “blessed assurance” and get the Word out. That is, the fires of hell are to motivate us to preach, not the lost to believe.
A faith in a Person, the one who conquered death, is a real and lasting faith. It is about the love of God, and “perfect love drives away fear” (1 John 4:18). We should emphasize what the original witnesses attested to: that Jesus was dead but is alive! And if they ask why they should believe in this risen Jesus or what it does for them, that’s the time to bring up heaven and hell. But again, the crux of the gospel is the risen Jesus.
But get busy! The time is very short.