And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity (Matthew 24:12-Amplified). By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).
I believe the Lord is doing some fresh things among us. People are coming to the Lord regularly. They are being invited by their friends to check out our church and while here they are finding Jesus Christ as Lord!
I believe it’s time to take this to the next step. There is a great harvest to be reaped before Jesus returns. It’s time to consider a different way to evangelize our community. The old way of thinking, the traditional way is this:
Gospel information is presented
Hearers are called to make a decision about Jesus
When they make a decision, they are welcomed into the church
Then friendship is extended to the person
The person is trained for service in the ministry by being separated from the culture
(From The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll)
This is the typical way we Christians evangelize. And we will continue to give altar calls in our services. But I sense that the Lord wants to take us to another level of evangelism. I call it friendship evangelism. Here’s the way it works:
A real and spiritual friendship is built between a Christian and non-Christian.
A non-Christian see real faith and ministry lived openly.
The gospel is naturally presented in word and deed within the friendship.
The non-Christian’s conversion follows his or her conversion to Christian friendships and the church.
The church celebrates the conversion of their friend.
(From the book, The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll)
This happened to me in 1976. I guy met me at a Charismatic church service I attended in my town and he began to come to my workplace to talk to me. He was friendly and kind, and never forced anything on me. He would encourage me to come with him to his church and I usually made an excuse as to why I couldn’t. Finally, on Saturday, September 11, 1976, I went with him after work to a “field day” his Bible college was having (there was a college in his church). I spent the afternoon watching these people play all sorts of sports games and laugh and talk and hang out. They made me feel welcomed and accepted. They included me in their activities. They never one time asked me if I was a Christian. They just simply befriended me and included me in their activities. I went back to the church the next day with my friend. That night, I got back into fellowship with Jesus and was filled with the Holy Spirit! I haven’t been the same since that day! And this happened to me all because a person was willing to befriend me.
The world is looking for what we have. Let’s love them, befriend them and show them by our love and our deeds the way to the Father!