C R E S T
A missile has two parts – the bomb and a delivery system.
We have the “bomb” - the gospel, the good news to save men
We must have a “delivery system” to get the gospel where it can reach men.
When researchers asked new converts, "What was the major influence in leading you to Christ and the Church?", they responded:
Church advertising 2%
The preacher 6%
Organized evangelism programs 6%
[Adapted from "Evangelism: The Why and How" by Elmer L. Towns, in Church Growth State of the Art, C. Peter Wagner, ed. (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1988), p. 53. ]
Evangelism: The Kind Everybody Can Practice ©
by Clayton Pepper 1
Church Growth Magazine 9(October - December, 1994): 9 - 10, 12.
I believe that every Christian should learn to practice friendship evangelism. God's eternal purpose from the beginning has been the redemption of man (Ephesians 3:8-11). God's gave his only Son to die on the cross in our behalf (Romans 5:8). There is nothing dearer to the heart of God than the salvation of lost souls (John 3:16). His people are commanded to go about sharing with others the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
I. PEOPLE YOU CAN INFLUENCE
Who are the people on whom we have the greatest influence? They are our relatives, friends and associates.
A. On the job
B. Friends, Neighbors, Family
C. Some Statistics
Church growth research says that on the average, each one of us has from 7 to 9 friends and relatives who are not Christians. If you have been a Christian for a long time, you may have three or four friends who are not Christians and a new Christian may have 11 or more. Suppose 50% of your congregation make a list of six prospects each. These potential converts are called your extended family". Members of that extended family become your potential congregation.
II. INDIVIDUALS AND WHOLE FAMILIES CONVERTED
Friendship evangelism was practiced in New Testament times. In John 4:53, there is a story about a man whose son is healed and he and his whole house believed. Andrew followed Jesus and brought his brother Peter to Him. (John 1:40-42). Philip introduced his friend Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:43-45). In Acts 10 we read how Cornelius was instructed to send to Joppa for Peter to come and tell him words whereby he might be saved. When Peter arrived, Cornelius had gathered his friends and kinsmen together to hear what Peter had to say. Paul, looking for prospects, went down by the riverside where some women were worshiping. One of them was Lydia whose heart was opened, and she along with her household were baptized (Acts 16:15). Paul and Silas were in prison for preaching Christ. An earthquake came causing the prison to be opened allowing the prisoners to be loosed from their chains and the doors to be opened. The jailer came in and was about to take his life. They said, "Do yourself no harm: for we are all here" (Acts 16:28). Then he invited them to his home. In a short time, this man decided that he believed in Christ, and was baptized along with all his household (Acts 16:22-31).
III. MAKING AND WINNING FRIENDS
What about our friends and associates? In Mark 5:19, we read of a man who was healed and then wanted to go with Jesus. But, Jesus replied: "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you."
The Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well, Jesus was there waiting for his disciples to come back from buying food in the city. He engaged her in conversation, and she soon decided he was from God. She left her waterpot and went back into the city and brought her friends to hear Jesus. Many became believers because of her influence. Although she was not a disciple at that time, she did believe that He was sent from God, and she led others to believe upon Him (John 4). When Jesus was going through Jericho there was a little short man named Zacchaeus who climbed up into a tree to get a better view. Jesus saw him and said, "Come down, for today I must stay at your house" (Luke 19:1-10). Zacchaeus was a tax collector, an occupation that was despised among the Jews. I don't know what all Jesus said to him, but he made a friend of him very quickly and the man showed repentance and a desire to change his life.
IV. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES
V. TAKE ACTION
Often we never get around to doing what we know we ought to do. We may wait until it is too late.
VI. LOVE AS THE BASIS FOR FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM
The Scribes and Sadduccees of Jesus' day debated about which was the greatest commandment in the law and they came and asked Jesus about it. He told them, first, to love the Lord, with all their heart, soul, mind and strength; and second was to love their neighbor as themselves (Matthew 22:37 - 38). It is not as easy command to fulfill. We can go forth from now on with all the forms and activities that we do, but if we do not learn love nothing will be of much value to us. We must learn to be concerned about the lost. We can't live a life separated from the Great Commission, and we need to bring the Great Commission together with the Great Commandment.
Friendship Evangelism means "caring" for people. "The best evangelism takes place in a context of mutual trust and respect. It takes place between friends."
Why do people love Jesus so much? Because He loved them so much!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
"...God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
The best evangelism comes when you really love and care about someone. Demonstrate your love for others. Show them, don't just tell them.
How do you do that? Lots of ways:
Share with them how you came to believe and obey Christ.
Show them how they can do it.
Once they obey Christ, stay close to them, like you would a newborn baby. A new Christian needs lots of guidance. Continue to be their friend. Remember what it was like when you were a new believer. Do for them the good things someone did for you or what you "wish" someone had done for you.
Help them become grounded in God's Word.
Show them the kind of life God has for His children. Demonstrate it. Explain it.
Tell them about their new enemy, Satan. Help them understand what he will try to do to them and how he'll do it.
Being a friend is something we can all do. Friendship Evangelism is something we can all do. You and I can make the difference in a the lives of a lot of people during our lifetime. If every believer would be a friend to someone and gently lead them to a knowledge of Christ ... what a world we would see!
Adapted from: http://www.mindspring.com/~mamcgee/grace_friendship.html
"A Middle Eastern student, asked to share about the years he had spent as a student in America, said, "I have been in America for four years, and these have been the most lonely years of my life. When I walk down a hallway and an American says with a smile, 'Hi, how are you doing?' I stop and try to tell them how I am doing. Instead, they just keep on walking and don't really care about my answer."
Statistics prove that this student's story is all too commonplace. Among the international students who study in the U.S., historically 70 percent have never been invited to an American home during their stay. More than 85 percent are never invited to an American church or have any meaningful contact with genuine Christians during an average stay of four years.
I got this from: http://www.ethnicharvest.org/ideas/friendship.htm