This is a relational evangelism strategy that can be implemented by anyone who can pray.
1. Make a List
Begin by making a list of 5-10 names of non-Christians that you know or would like to get to know and write them on an index card or sheet of paper. These people could be friends, classmates, or acquaintances who don’t know Christ.
2. Who do I list?
That’s a good question, I’m glad you asked! If building authentic relationships is key in reaching others for Christ, then where should we look to initiate relationships? Try thinking of people in three different categories:
- People you know
- People you used to know
- People you would like to know
First, make a list of people you know who attend classes at your college or university. Think about people you know using the acronym PAGES.
P - Are there people you know that share your similar political views?
A - Are there people you know who are involved in athletics with you whether varsity, intramural, or pick-up games?
G - Are there people you know who live near you geographically? This could be people in your residence hall, Greek house, off-campus apartment or neighborhood.
E - Do you have a part-time job while you’re in school? Are there people you know who are employed with you?
S - Are there people you know with whom you regularly socialize? These people could be members of your fraternity or sorority. Or they could just be people that you hang out with socially from time to time.
Next, make a list of people you used to know. People in this category could include old High School friends who attend your college or university or just people with whom you formerly hung out. Ask the Lord how you can renew relationships with non-believing friends who you have grown apart from over time.
There is a third group of people and we’ll call them, people you would like to know. Ask yourself, is there anyone on campus you would like to know? Is there a really smart person in your Chemistry class who also might be able to help get your grades above C-level? Get to know them, win them to Christ and bring home a better grade in a tough class. Not a bad deal for either one of you! Maybe there’s a popular person on campus or an athlete that you would like to know. Well, get to know them and share the gospel.
3. Pray for them for two weeks
For two weeks, pray every day for the people you listed on your card:
- Pray for them during your devotional time with the Lord
- Partner with a friend and pray for each other’s list
- Pray for your lists during small group time
Encourage others in your small group to do the same. This develops encouragement and accountability, and allows more students to be involved in praying for the friends.
Pray that God: will give you opportunities to share the gospel; that hearts will be receptive; and the gospel will penetrate hard hearts.
Over the next two weeks, look for opportunities to care for the needs of the people on your list. Simply asking questions and listening goes a long way. Maybe you could invite your non-Christian friend to do something with you. The event is not important, but the fact that you are investing your life in someone else is what matters.
- Have lunch with them
- Go shopping together
- Watch a ball game or go to a game on your campus
- Get coffee or dinner out
- Eat together in the cafeteria
- Play video games
- Watch a movie together in your room or apartment
- If appropriate, invite them to your small group
The goal is to deepen your relationship with your friend so that there is mutual trust and respect. It will allow you to communicate your love for them as a person before you share the gospel. Continue to develop depth with your friends throughout the six weeks.
The final two week period is designed to give you opportunities to share the gospel with your friends. Hopefully, a deeper relationship has been built, making discussion of spiritual issues less threatening to both parties. Think through how you want to share the gospel with your friend and what tools you want to use (personal testimony, gospel tract, or other).
Have an evangelism training event at the beginning of the last two weeks to teach students in your movement how to share the gospel. This will give you and other students in your group confidence in sharing the message with their friends.