Friendship Evangelism Is Neither Friendship Nor Evangelism
By Tony Miano
I received the following message from a friend on Facebook. While it is a topic I’ve tackled many times in the past, I thought the way my friend honestly asked her questions accurately expressed how many Christians feel about sharing the gospel with their friends. Her words also helped to reaffirm what I have believed for a very long time. “Friendship Evangelism,” as it is most commonly taught and practiced by Christians, is neither friendship nor evangelism.
With my friend’s permission, I would like to share her note with you; and then I will answer her questions.
I have made a lifetime of friends, and up until about 6 years ago, I was a partier and not walking with the Lord. Since becoming a Christian, I have made myself known to all, but not gone out of my way to share the gospel. I know my friends “think” they know what the Bible says and I also know that they don’t want me to preach or share. I have hoped that Facebook would encourage them to ask me, but they don’t.
I watch like a voyeur, their lives on Facebook and I hate it. I see them post pictures of nights on the town, glazed eyes, draped over a different guy in each shot. Today I read as they talked about spending money frivolously and obnoxiously. I see so much “selfism” and today it really started to hurt.
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I keep thinking that, by example, they might want to know more or ask…instead I see them avoid my page and my comments. They never address anything I say regarding our Savior, God, or the written word, and only comment on the “regular” things I post.
Most of my “friends” from the past, I still DO care about their salvation. I’m certain that my approach will mean the end of life-long friendships. Should I just keep exposing the Lord to them? Our Christmas cards and small other things are about all the contact we really have. Should I just go for broke and risk turning them off completely? I know it would mean the end of friendships in most cases.
Part of me knows that losing these friendships shouldn’t matter. I’m more concerned that is I can keep the door open, they might …might…someday come to repentance. I want the door to remain open.
I need some advice. I’m pretty sure your going to tell me to go for it…but I thought you might have a perspective or a way that I should use as an approach . . .
[P.S.] I’m thinking of how to approach evangelizing them. I know the approach that Ray [Comfort] uses, letting them convict themselves through the 10 Commandments (which really works) and you too have mastered it. I have also been told to have them read the word themselves because the word has power. As a chicken, I was hoping to be “non-confrontational” and send it in a letter. A letter of love, and a pouring out of my heart for them. But that leaves them with the ability to not answer, or reply. I know that God would use me MUCH better if I had the nerve to deliver my (HIS) message in person. I want to engage their minds. I’ve never been a “chicken.” I don’t want to fail God. I want my (HIS) words to pierce. So…praying and waiting for His inspiration and His way to lead me, and maybe your words will help push me into the world. I’m NOT ashamed of Him, I’m afraid of them, so to speak. I know if He is with me, who can be against me? Why…do I struggle? Oh, the flesh.
Before I answer my friend’s questions, it is important that I preface my commentary with a few clarifying remarks. First, my commentary is not a critique of my friend–neither of her love for Christ nor of her love for people. I do not question her salvation or the genuineness of her desire for her friends to be saved. My commentary will be, however, a pointed critique of what I believe is a profoundly effective tool of Satan (1 Peter 5:8) — “Friendship” or “Relationship” evangelism…
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