Relational Evangelism

  • by Student Linc

Why is it that many Christians become frustrated and don’t follow through when they are asked to bring their friends to an outreach event, or to tell their friends about Christ? Maybe it’s because we don’t know many non-Christians and those we do know, we consider to be acquaintances rather than friends. This makes it even more difficult to bridge the gap to spiritual issues. Have Christians become cocooned?

HEART OF THE MATTER

Cocooning was a buzzword of the ‘80s. VCRs and Domino’s Pizza have made it possible for people to spin a web of safety and security in their own comfortable environment rather than venture out into the world.

Sometimes Christians cocoon into spiritual safety and security rather than take risks to build relationships with the lost. We fill our evenings with Bible studies, fill our lives with Christian friends and end up isolating ourselves from the very culture to which we were called to be salt and light.

The Christian community should be a place from which we can confidently go out into battle building common-ground relationships with the lost. It should not be our fortress where we hide from the world separating ourselves from those we are seeking to reach.

Jesus was often criticized by the religious leaders of His day for associating with tax collectors and sinners. His response revealed both His heart for and pursuit of the lost: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

As Christians, our mission is to reach out into the world around us and love people into a lifechanging relationship with Christ. The following steps are principles for building bridges of friendship with lost students.

STEPS TO TAKE

1. Make new friends

  • Make a list of unreached friends.
  • Get involved in common ground activities such as intramurals, band, greek system, clubs, etc.
  • Be yourself and have fun.
  • Remember there are lots of morally neutral places you can go and things you can do with non-Christians.
  • Study the life of Christ; He was a friend of sinners.

2. Pray

  • Pray consistently for your new friends.
  • Ask God for sincere compassion (Mark 9:36).
  • Pray for God’s Spirit to work in their hearts (John 16:7-11).
  • Pray for open doors and opportunities (Colossians 4:3).
  • Pray for their salvation (Romans 10:1, 1 Timothy 2:1-7).
  • Imagine a group of 10 believers praying for 10 people each. That would be 100 non-Christians being prayed for!

3. Give yourself

  • Be a good conversationalist and friend.
  • Be available in the hard times.
  • Enjoy being with them without having an agenda.
  • Focus on their heart, not their actions. Don’texpect them to live the Christian life yet.
  • Idea: Small groups in a Los Angeles church throw a party once a month. The Christians in the groupinvite their non-Christian friends, allowing relationships to form with other Christians.

4. Tell them

  • Tell them your story of the difference Christ has made in your life.
  • Invite them to church or to an outreach event.
  • Ask if anyone has explained to them what it means to be a true Christian. Let them know how to begin a relationship with God.
  • Begin an investigative Bible study of the Gospelof John. Lead them to Christ as you sense they are ready.

REAL LIFE STORY  Damon and Andrea were involved in Cru in college. After graduating they got married, and Damon went to medical school while Andrea got a job. After becoming involved in a church, they helped give leadership to a church-based campus ministry with students attending from two universities. They also got to know another couple from Damon’s class in medical school.

They prayed for this couple, took them to church, and spent time with them. After several months, their friends received Christ. Because they had a relationship with Damon and Andrea (and with the church), it was natural for the new couple to receive follow-up and become involved in the church.