Evangelism through friendship
Have you ever wanted to evangelize in your neighborhood but don’t know how? Sometimes we make evangelism more complicated than it has to be.
Often times evangelism begins with simple, transformational friendships with those in your own backyard.
Steve Pike, founder of Urban Islands Project, tells the story of a church planter named Preston Ulmer.
Preston’s church planting story begins when he introduced himself to a local coffee shop owner, Tracks. During this conversation Preston shared his intent to start a new faith community. Tracks’ response was less than encouraging.
“You seem like a nice person. Let me save you some time, don’t do that… Most people in this neighborhood are like me, they’re atheist, they don’t have any kind of faith, they’re secular, whatever. They’re not buying what you’re selling.”
Preston explained that that was the very reason he had come to this neighborhood. He then asked Tracks this important question:
“Is it possible that you and the church haven’t been properly introduced?”
What Preston meant was that the church that Tracks knew might not be an accurate representation of the way the Church is supposed to be. At the end of their discussion Tracks shared a sharp, but representative criticism, of Christian evangelism.
“I know what’s going to happen next – you are going to go back to your bible study or your church and you’re going to tell them about how you witnessed to an atheist. And I will never see you again.”
So often we get so caught up in sharing the Gospel that we fail to build relationships. As a result people get a skewed and shallow version of Christianity.
Preston continued to visit the coffee shop and forged a genuine friendship with Track. Later, this friendship provided opportunities to speak truth into the lives of those in the community.