Contact evangelism…

23 Jan

A friend recently commented on one of my posts asking for my thoughts on relational evangelism vs. contact evangelism. If you’re new to the game – relational means sharing your faith to people with whom you are already in relationship. You might develop the relationship slowly and be more subtle, or you might be very direct and invitational, or somewhere in between. They key thing is: these are people you know. Contact evangelism (I have NO IDEA where this term came from??) essentially means going up to strangers and talking to them with the intention of sharing the Gospel.

Contact evangelism is not very en vogue, and comes under scrutiny these days for both sincerity (“you’re just trying to preach at me”) and effectiveness (“no one really gets saved from a random conversation!”) If you’ve read my post “Before you call me a jerk” you know that I think sharing the message of Jesus Christ is the best possible thing one human can do for another – so the sincerity charge` fails, even if I AM just initiating the conversation with the hopes of sharing the Gospel. From an effectiveness standpoint, it’s true that I hear very few stories of sidewalk conversions that last – it’s also true that I’ve heard of some. If there are any brothers and sisters who have come to a saving relationship with Jesus through contact evangelism then we should not abandon it.

I know it's cold out here man, but you should still hear this.

I know it’s cold out here man, but you should still hear this.

This is especially true when we consider the benefits! For starters, doing contact evangelism will put butterflies in your stomach. This is often a good sign that you are taking a significant risk for the Kingdom. Too frequently we allow ourselves to go unchallenged! Go talk to a stranger and you will have an encounter that challenges you. Second, this is an opportunity to grow as an evangelist in general. There are only so many objections to Jesus – and if you have conversations with folks who hold them you’ll be more prepared to answer the same objection in the future. I consider the majority of my contact evangelism batting practice for significant conversations with friends and family, or for speaking engagements. (Of course, it’s better than batting practice because you could hit a homerun that actually matters!) Lastly, there is no way to tell how your conversation will impact someone. You are doing a good and important thing if you represent the Gospel truthfully and in good character. Even if the person doesn’t repent, it is fully possible that they will remember pieces of your conversation or even ask a Christian friend why this strange thing happened to them.

I feel that regularly starting conversations with strangers (as you feel lead by God) is a good spiritual discipline and will yield fruit for you and the person with whom you speak. (For some Biblical examples that could be considered Contact evangelism read John 4, Acts 8 and Acts 10)

Coming next: I’ll assess Relationship evangelism and declare a winner!

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2 Responses to “Contact evangelism…”

  1. Lynn Wimmer January 25, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    I appreciate your giving examples of contact evangelism from Scripture.

    • stevewimmer January 25, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      thanks mom!!! don’t drive in the snow! (there might be more examples, but those were the ones that came to mind when writing the post).

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