How many squares can you find?
At first glance you'll see 16. Keep looking. Are there 18, 20, 24? How many squares are there? The same is true with Friendship Evangelism. At first you may see only one person. That friend has relatives, associates, neighbors and friends that will soon become your friends.
There is a multiplication factor about Friendship Evangelism. Research has shown that the typical member of a congregation can name about three or four friends outside of the church. A new convert can name 12 to 15. By evangelizing one person, you open to door to 12 to 15 others. Each of those doors opens to another 12 to 15 new people.
12 OBSERVATIONS ABOUT
1. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
2. Jesus was a master in the use of Friendship Evangelism.
3. All reliable surveys on church growth indicate that people are won, not through mass media, but through the influence of one or more friends.
4. The best evangelism takes place in a context of mutual trust and respect. It takes place between friends.
5. Effective evangelism is usually best begun without film, chart or Bible in hand.
6. Friendship Evangelism can be carried on in large or small congregations.
7. Friendship Evangelism can be carried out in large or small churches with only small monetary investment, but there must be an abundance of love.
8. Friendship Evangelism encourages chain-reaction growth.
9. No one method of evangelism should be used to the exclusion of all others.
10. Each Christian has a God-given responsibility to build Christ's church numerically here on the earth (Luke 19:10).
11. We must learn to maximize our efforts on those most likely to respond.
12. Finally, we must learn to serve those in need, both Christians and non-Christians.
How can a church develop a loving atmosphere that will foster Friendship Evangelism?
1. Begin where you are.
2. Alert the leadership.
3. Learn to love the unlovely.
4. Display your love.
The Perils of Friendship Evangelism
1. You will be required to make significant investments of time.
2. You will open yourself up to hurt.
3. Your friendship can become an end in itself.
4. Your friends can become overly dependent on you.
5. You tend to assume too much responsibility for results.
How do we begin?
Listed below are several ways to begin a thrust toward Friendship Evangelism.
1. EBS (Evangelistic Bible Studies).
Begin with 5 or 6 Christians. Each Christian invites a non-Christian to attend a weekly Bible study in the home of one of the Christians.
2. NBS (Neighborhood Bible School).
NBS is a local neighborhood version of a Vacation Bible School. Two or three Christians in a few block area can plan a back yard learning center for children and parents.
3. OBS (Open Bible Studies).
Ivan Stewart has formulateed a series of three lessons for evangelism. They are easy to teach and rely on your friendship with the people you sre teaching.
4. 1 on 1.
All it takes is you and a friend. Develop a deeper friendship that discusses faith, God and the Bible. Others can be included as you choose.
5. OIKOS (House to House).
The New Testament church went house to house seeking to share the good news. Today, cold door-knocking is not as effective as other methods. "Oikos" is the Greek word for "house." Most New Testament conversions were households.
6. Effective evangelism is usually best begun without film, chart or Bible in hand.