4 Stumbling Blocks to Everyday Evangelism – Part 1

Stumbling Block

In my last post, I talked about the need for us to model Paul’s method of evangelism in Athens — reach out, build relationships with folks, and then engage them with the gospel where they are on a daily basis.

But often we don’t do what Paul models for us. We don’t engage people where they are on a daily basis. Why? Why don’t we do that? Well, let me offer you:

4 Stumbling Blocks to Everyday Evangelism and How to Remove Them

(1) We Don’t Have Relationships with Non-Believers 

As Christians it is easy to focus our entire lives around the church. So much so that everyone we know either goes to our church or another church in town. When you only have relationships with Christians, however, it is hard to engage the lost on a consistent basis because you don’t know anyone who is lost. Everyone you know already believes in Jesus as their Savior.

So one stumbling block to everyday evangelism is not knowing enough lost people, which means we need to build some relationships. I would encourage you to start building relationships with non-believers because I believe:

Relationships are the key to being able to spread the gospel consistently.

You are more likely to talk with a friend about Jesus than a complete stranger. Think about it, how many of you are actually going to approach a random stranger on the street or go knock on a door. Unless someone makes you do it, most of you are probably not going to. So if we are going to do everyday evangelism, we need to look for people to build relationships with.

Plus, I believe relationship evangelism is more effective. Research tells us that 43% of people come to Christ through a friend or co-worker. I believe it. At the last Conference I attended, the host took a poll as to how people came to Christ. The largest part of the 7 or 8 thousand in attendance said they came to Christ because someone they knew told them about Jesus.

Now I am not saying street evangelism or evangelistic events aren’t effective. People get saved through those avenues everyday. The most effective way, however, seems to be through relational evangelism. So we need to focus on building relationships with folks.

You Have the Time to Build Relationships with Non-believers

You may not think you have the opportunities to do that given your schedule or life stage. But you do. You have the opportunity in the things you already are involved in each and every week. Think about about.

(1) Extracurricular Activities

Most of you have kids or grandkids who are involved in sports or some other extracurricular activity. These activities are an excellent opportunity for you to build relationship with other parents or grandparents. You already have something in common — your child plays on the same team or participates in the same activity — so the hard part is already over. Now, you just have to work on getting to know the other parents a little better.

(2) Work

Another place you have an opportunity to meet non-believers and build relationships with them is at work. This is one thing I miss about working in the secular world — the ease with which I could build relationships with my co-workers who weren’t believers and then speak into their lives.

One way I got to know my co-workers well was by going to lunch with them. Now I didn’t do that everyday. Eating out is expensive, but I did go out with them every now and again. I would encourage you to do the same.

If lunch doesn’t work for you, invite a person in the office over for dinner, to watch the game, go golfing, hunting, or whatever else it is that you do.

(3) Neighbors and Re-Connect with Old Friends

Still another way to meet and build relationships with non-believers is your neighborhood, or for you to reconnect with your non-Christian friends from school.

Cookouts are a great way to meet your neighbors or reconnect with your old high school buddies. Invite them over one Saturday afternoon and just hang out, get to know them, or find out what they have been up to, in the case of those you haven’t seen in a while.

(4) Shift the Setting You Do Things In

Often times as Christians, we like to do things in Christian settings. We play sports in a Christian league, drink coffee at a Christian coffee shop, look for books in a Christian book store, or hold Bible studies at the church instead of out in the community.

However, if you isolate yourself and live in a Christian bubble, you aren’t going to meet any non-Christians. Instead of isolating yourself, find a way to do the things you normally do out among non-believers.

For me this means spending some of my day working from the coffee shop. I could spend my day in the comfort of my study, but I don’t. Instead I spend most of my afternoons at Starbucks.

Through the years I have had the opportunity to talk to a number of people, to build relationships with them, and to speak the gospel into their lives. I am not even aggressive at getting to know others. I just go, do my work and every so often God places someone in my path that I don’t know, we become friends, and we end up talking about Jesus every now and again.

Another example is our church’s Friday Morning Men’s Bible Study. We have that at IHOP every Friday at 6:30am. The reason we do that is so we can have breakfast and coffee together, but also so we can be a witness for Jesus in our community.

So there are a number of ways to build relationships with folks, we just have to do it.

Question for Reflection

  1. How do you build relationships with non-believers?

Resources

Post adapted from the sermon: Spread the Gospel – Growth Through Discipleship – Week 5

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9 thoughts on “4 Stumbling Blocks to Everyday Evangelism – Part 1

  1. We hold evangelistic crusades in rural areas & lots of people ‘answer the altar call’..BUT we see a trend that without effective follow-up through ‘Relational Evangelism’ as you call it, barely 10% continue in the walk….

    In the environment I’m exposed to currently there are mostly 2categories of people. Christians & Muslims-each at their polar extremes..Street evangelism is often least effective especially with ‘Christians’…no less that 10secs after approach they declare their denomination/allegiance & come at you from that ‘conditioned mindset’…we find that we spend more time evangelising to the believers… Addressing issues of wrong doctrines..Sin & repentance etc..
    Ironically I had more success with street evangelism in Europe..

    I need to do better though in the immediate proximity of my home though…thanks for that reminder.

    More grace to you.

  2. P.s I find the ‘denominational mentality’ amongst those born to Christian homes as the biggest stumbling block in reaching out…what’s your experience in the best way of tackling this?

    1. I would agree. I live in a rural small town area as well. Everyone here goes to church somewhere, even though they never attend. I myself find it hard to talk with folks like that as well. For that reason, my preaching often centers on us actually living the life Jesus has called us to as disciples. My desire is not to be legalistic, but to help people see that being a Christian is more than just being connected to a church. That is my approach in evangelism when talking with someone who would call themselves a Christian, but never attends church.

      One thing you may try when someone gets in a “denominational battle” with you is to ask them when was the last time they attended church. That question is helpful since most folks will claim they are members of a church but don’t actually attend. Once you get the temperature on their actual church involvement, you can start talking to them about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

      Hope that helps.

  3. Thank Casey…
    Yeah that was helpful… (Taking their temperature)…
    Unlike your case lots of these guys attend every Sunday….BUT….’discipleship’ is alien to them.
    So will get stuck into that
    Will whip out the thermostat (Gift of Discernment) and put it to work.

    Looking 4wd to part 2.

    Ciao

      1. Yeah..actually held a field meeting yesterday in a lite village. Had a revelation to try a new tack: Acts 2:36
        Almost all in the area-were born in2 Christian homes & accepted Jesus as ‘Saviour’….but the focus of the meet was to highlight that only 10% of those actually have Him as Lord.
        Twas an eye opener for many, and the response was wonderful!
        Just have to make sure the team does effective ‘relational followup’

  4. Pingback: 4 Stumbling Blocks to Everyday Evangelism – Part 2 | Christianity Matters

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