Relational evangelism works.
Personal relationships are the most effective way to share the gospel in a meaningful way.
In those relationships, your influence helps shape their journey to faith.
I have walked with my friend through years of questioning before they came to the Lord.
Read More: What evangelism looks like in my life?
I have had deeply personal conversations with strangers, and have led strangers to Christ.
But those singular conversations were the results of months of spiritual preparation by their friends who were already speaking into their life.
My conversation happened to be a confirming piece of information they were looking for.
Statistics in various studies have shown that the verbal and life witness seen through personal relationships with genuine Christians are what lead to new believers.
For example, Shawn Anderson’s nationwide study in the US (Living Dangerously: Seven Keys to Intentional Discipleship), revealed:
The results revealed that, indeed, individuals were influenced to commit their lives to Jesus by people who modeled Jesus in their lives.
4 Reasons that Relational Evangelism Works
As I thought about this, here are 4 reasons why relationships are important in personal evangelism.
From reading unChristian, the Church as an institution doesn’t have a lot of credibility.
Your friend might even have a crazy relative or obnoxious friend who is always forcing a Jesus-conversation upon them.
For your friend to become a Christian, they need a credible witness: someone who is normal.
Your friend trusts you and your ideas, even if they don’t agree with you. You’ve built respect in your relationship and that fosters the positive credibility to be a person of influence.
In which relationships with non-Christians do you need to improve credibility? What can you do this week to change that?
Over time, people can see what defines your life.
Your interests, hobbies, and choices, plus how you respond to circumstances, are visible to your friend.
For example, with my friends, I can talk about
- my calling,
- how I experience God’s provision for our work
- what I’m learning from my devotional life with God.
- how God is at work in the life of our church as people find faith
- knowing the presence of God’s peace in the midst of our challenges.
They see that I choose
- Giving $$ to mission projects that advance the gospel.
- Going to church over cutting the yard on a beautiful Sunday
- Godly ways I raise my children as I get wisdom from God’s word.
- Giving vacation time to foreign missions with my family instead of a week at the beach.
I am comfortable in expressing the spiritual side of my life: my walk with Christ.
People hear that I walk with God. They hear current stories of what God is doing in my life.
Can you talk about your spiritual life with Christ? What story God’s activity in your life can you share with a friend?
Read more: Faith Story #1: What’s God doing in your life?
When strangers interrupt our life with some agenda they are pushing, we are naturally defensive.
But in your relationships, you’ve got access to speak to deep places.
You’ve got access to hearing their needs, hopes, desires and struggles. They call on you when life throws them a curve ball.
They might share with you how they face financial ruin.
They might share with you how they are headed towards divorce.
In the safety of credible relationships, you’ve got access to their deepest needs when they come to the surface. You’ve got access when they start to talk about their spiritual thirst.
Very rarely will a stranger get that level of access.
What steps can you take this week to deepen your relationships with non-Christians?
The people that I have most influenced for the kingdom of God are people who allowed me to speak into their life over a season of time.
I’ve been able to ask about their beliefs, talk intelligently about them, and even disagree without being obnoxious about it.
Within the safety of a trusted relationship you have earned the right to speak freely about faith.
You’ll have earned the right to speak about your friend’s faith.
You’ll have earned the right to speak to their spiritual thirst when you hear it.
And this conversation may not be just at one time, but over the course of several conversations spread out over time.
Growth step: Have you heard your friend speak about their spiritual restlessness? Pray that the Lord gives you a chance to speak into that.
Do you need help in Personal Evangelism?
Start here with this MP3 Download on Evangelism Training from the store to help you see where you need to grow.
In this 70 minute MP3 AUDIO recording on personal evangelism you will learn:
- How church invitations are part of evangelism
- How to discover and share your own journey to faith
- What you can say about the gospel message.
- How to personally lead someone to faith in Christ.
It’s a 70-minute audio file that takes just a few minutes to download, but it may help you answer the question:
What can you do in the next 90 days to grow in your evangelism skills?
The Bible, over and over again, says NOT to stick around the lost. We are to witness to them then leave. We are not to sit, stand, or eat with them. 1 Corinthians goes into it deeper. I believe your article was written with good intentions, but that doesn’t make it right. Be careful what you are teaching your students. God judges our teachers by a higher standard.
Miss Annie, thanks for stopping by. I’ll disagree with you on this one. Jesus hung out with people who were lost, spent time in their houses, and was actually accused of eating with sinners and tax collectors. Paul spent nearly two years talking faith with Felix in Acts 24. Matthew invited his tax collector friends to a dinner party where they could meet Jesus (Matt 9:10-13). In Acts 2:26-47, it says that the fellowship of believers “were liked by all the people” suggesting (though no proving) that the people were friends. Friendship gives you influence.
when i encountered this website, i asked myself “where have you been?” without reservation, this is the best thing that has happened to me as far as creating a more hospitable church, training materials for my church members and personal evangelism is concerned.
thank you and may God continue to strengthen you hands and anoint you the more for this generation and beyond.