Pastor Greg is teaching a seven-part Wednesday night series on the seven core values of our church and all of his life ministry.
This week is Core Value #5: Relational Evangelism
To PROCLAIM or to SHARE good news. (Evangelize/Evangelism)
RELATIONAL EVANGELISM: Inviting people you know into the family of God.
FOUR RELATIONAL GROUPS
Relational Evangelism comes down to three easy but important words. Identify, Invest and Invite.
Identify your FRANs. Who are those people in your various circles of influence? List them out. Who are your close friends? Who are your close relatives? Who are your associates? Who are your neighbors? These are all people you know by face and name who know you by face and name. People you have some level of personal relationship with, people you have some level of personal connection with.
When you start relationships out by investing in other people, they are less suspicious of your motives when you ask them to do something unusual. AND, as Christians, this should be true for ALL of our interactions with others anyway. Being a Christian is about being the servant of all. It’s all about building value into other people. It’s about what you can do for them.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” ~ Philippians 2:3-4
What are we to invest in others? How do we know we are doing it right? You can remember with another acrostic — TEMPLE.
Your time is the most valuable possession you have. It’s limited. You only get so much time here on earth. You can’t make any more time. You don’t even know how much time you have left. When you give some of your precious time to someone, it makes an impact.
Helping someone unload their groceries. Helping someone sweep off their lanai. Giving someone a ride to the store. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to make an impact. The smallest good deed still outweighs the greatest good intention. Investing some energy to help someone else, again, speaks volumes to them about how much you value them.
Money often makes the world we live in go round. Meeting a financial need for someone in dire straights is a powerful and effective way to show that you really do care about them. It is a great joy to be able to give, to invest in them in that way. Investing our money in someone’s life and in a relationship with them? The returns are profound, both tangible and intangible.
How do you make an investment of love? Love can be shown in a myriad of ways. A smile, a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, a word of encouragement, a show of support, forgiving a wrong. Mourning a loss together. Celebrating a victory together. Caring about what the other person cares about. Putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own.
None of us are perfect. We all screw up sometimes. It’s easy to get exasperated with people who inconvenience us, let us down, put us out. Finding ways to communicate with love, to be patient with each other when we stumble in life. Wave that person with just a couple items ahead of you at Costco. Every moment like that is an opportunity for you to strike up a conversation with them. Make a new friend.
Attaboys and Attagirls are some of the most effective ways to lift someone up, to build someone up. Your enthusiasm, your joy, and positive attitude can be contagious. It can give others the grace and strength they need to take another step in this difficult thing called life. When you share some enthusiasm it matters.
Then, when you invest in these people that you have relationships with, it opens the door for you to have some positive influence with them. They have learned that you aren’t out to use them or take advantage of them. You really do have their best interests at heart.
Invite them to come to church with you. They know you. They trust you. They respect your opinion. They believe that you have their best interests at heart. You’ve invested your time, energy, money, patience, love and enthusiasm in their lives for quite a while. You’ve never steered them wrong on all those areas of interest. If church is a positive thing for you, maybe church will be a positive thing for them too.
Is this really that tough? That scary? Hey, this concert I’m going to is going to be great! Do you want to go with me? Hey, this restaurant I’m going to is top notch, do you want to go with me? Hey this church I attend is really excellent. Do you want to go with me? There’s really no difference is there is there? Why does one scare us?
Now, what about inviting them to follow Jesus? That’s the ultimate goal of evangelism isn’t it? In fact, that’s the ultimate goal of Christianity, the ultimate goal of the Christian life isn’t it? To help those we care about experience the abundant life of a relationship with Jesus and the eternal life that only He can give. The only reason Jesus hasn’t taken us all home yet is because we are here to help human beings return to a relationship with God. As Christians, we believe that relationship can only happen through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here is a short, simple way to share the basic message of the Gospel. You say “God created human beings to be in relationship with us. We broke that relationship with pride and sin, preventing us from having a relationship with our holy God. But God loved us so much He couldn’t stand the thought of losing us so He developed a plan to make things right between us again. He came to earth, became one of us, lived the perfect sin—free life we were originally created and intended to live, and then He gives us credit for the job He did. Instead of being guilty by association, we are innocent by association, if we accept the offer to follow Jesus as our God. Do you want to begin this kind of faith relationship with Jesus?” If they say yes, pray with them as they confess their sin, receive the forgiveness that Jesus has already offered and accept Jesus as the new Lord and Savior of their life. If they say no. Wait a few weeks and try to have the conversation again.
… the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated to them. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20
As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.” ~ Mark 1:16-20
The next day [Jesus] purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” ~ John 1:43-46
Jesus did what I’m encouraging you to do. He simply invited Phillip with a basic invitation. “Follow Me.” Then Phillip invites his Friend Nathanial to follow Jesus. It’s a basic invitation. “Come and see.” This is all there is to relational evangelism.
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. ~ John 1:40-42a
John the Baptist invited his followers to follow him and then invited them to follow Jesus. Jesus invites John’s followers to follow Him. Andrew accepts the invitation and Andrew invites his Relative, Peter. Phillip invited a friend. Andrew invited a relative. It’s FRANgelism.
So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.- John 4:28-30
She runs to invite her neighbors to come see Jesus. That’s all relational evangelism is. Nothing to be scared of, you do it every day. God is not asking you to go door to door, knocking and approaching strangers. God is not asking all of us to become street preachers or pastors or overseas missionaries or theologians. True, God may put you in a situation with strangers from time to time where opportunities to share your faith will come up. However, the VAST MAJORITY of evangelism, as we see from Scripture, is made up of basic relationship moments and opportunities like this with our FRANs, people we already know on some level.
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and THEN the end will come. ~ Matthew 24:14
Jesus hasn’t returned yet because we haven’t preached the gospel of the kingdom to the whole world and all the nation yet. This is on us! Because we aren’t practicing relational evangelism.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, [His promise to return] as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Jesus said …. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6
Jesus’ invitation is still as simple as it ever was. “Come, follow me. Come, follow me. Follow me. Follow me.” We can say to our FRAN’s “Come and see! Y’all come!”