Friday, October 28, 2011

More About Harmonicas And Evangelism

By Pastor Bruce Oyen

      In a previous posting, I wrote about the fact that we should try and find things we have in common with non-Christians so that we might develop a friendship with them. This, then, will, hopefully, open up opportunities to present them with the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It's the old principle of "win a friend to win a soul."
     However, what is called "friendship evangelism" is not the only method of evangelism. But it has proven to be a very effective one because this evangelism takes place in a relationship of mutual trust between friends.
    However, we should  still take opportunities to evangelize others through impromptu evangelism by the distribution of gospel literature (tracts), and through what is sometimes called "cold turkey evangelism."  For examples, we could offer a  gospel tract to a  grocery store clerk whom we do not know. Or, we might be able to speak to that clerk about their relationship to Jesus Christ, and tell them how to find forgiveness and salvation by believing in Him. This kind of evangelism happens on the spot, so to speak, and it is important.
     But this posting is about "friendship evangelism." What do we need to know, and what do we do next, when we have found something in common with a non-Christian and have begun a friendship based on that common interest? We don't want our friendship to never get to the point of reaching out to our friend with the Gospel of Christ.There are some important things to keep in mind at this point:
  1. As eager as we might be to lead them to believe in Jesus, we need to be patient. They might not be ready at the beginning of a friendship to let us share our faith in the Lord. No one likes to be pushed into something. No one likes to be "sold" something that is of no real interest to them. So, we must feel our way along, so to speak, to determine when the time is right to bring up the subject. The Lord can guide us along the way.
  2. We need to be their friend, even if they let us know they don't want to, as they might put it, "discuss religion." If we cut off our friendship because of their disinterest in the Lord, they will very likely be offended by it. And we then will lose the opportunity to influence them for the Lord. I have a friend named Joe who says he is not interested in what I have to say. But we visit briefly a few times a month. I don't push. I just keep in touch and say something about the Lord from time to time. Of course, if our new friend seeks to draw us into sinful behavior or the questioning of our faith, we must not let it happen. And that might require less involvement with them.
  3. We need to know how to introduce our faith into our friendship. There are some gentle ways to go about doing so:
           1.) We can say something positive about the church we attend. For example, on a Monday we could tell our friend about the good potluck meal we had at the church on Sunday, or about a visiting speaker. Or we could tell them we helped at the church's work day recently. Or that we had recently attended church choir practice. Or that we teach Sunday school. Little bits of  information will tell them we are church-goers. And they might ask about our church, which could lead in the direction we want the conversation to go..
          2.) In the summer, we could tell them about Vacation Bible School being held at our church.
          3.) If they tell us about a serious illness, or some other problem, whether these things are their own or someone else's, we could tell them we will pray for them. We could even ask if we could pray for them right then. But it is best to do it in private, and to do it in a simple manner. Formal, long prayers won't be helpful.
          4.) We could offer them a booklet that could encourage them or their family or friend in their time of difficulty. Or we could write out some encouraging Bible verses for them to read and pass on to their friend.
          5.) We could invite them to  a Christmas program, or some other special event at the church building.
    There are other ways that we can introduce the subject of our faith into the friendship. And the reason to do so is to plant some seeds in their minds about the things of the Lord. And once we have done that, we should seek to water those seeds in whatever way seems appropriate to us. The Lord will guide us in our efforts.
    Then, with the Lord's help, we can be more direct about our faith in Christ. We might come to think it is time to speak to them about whether or not thy know the Lord. We might come to think it is time to give them some literature that will do the job for us. We might come to  think it is time to invite them to church services or to a Bible study, at both of which they can hear the Gospel and hopefully come to believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. If they do believe in the Lord to be saved, we will have gained a friend for eternity!
     If you need a Gospel tract to give someone whom you are trying to win to faith in Christ, I suggest you consider giving them the one called "God's Simple Plan Of Salvation," by Ford Porter. You could even read it together with someone you are trying win to the Lord, and then discuss it with them.  To read it, click on the following link. If you like it, make as many copies as you need.      Here is the link: It comes in several languages from the same source.

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