We have found this summary, from the cell lesson The Harvest to be helpful in providing motivation for and understanding of relational evangelism.
Prayer plows the ground for the seeds of the harvest. Sowing on hard ground, sometimes works, but we need to plow it with prayer. When we pray for someone’s needs and God begins to move in their lives, they become much more likely to accept him.
If we can see the harvest, we will be willing. If we have seen that the lake is full of fish, we will fish tirelessly. If we can’t see the harvest we should pray that God make us see the harvest. God is calling us to elevate the importance and the priority of prayer.
We must have faith to believe God is going to do something. This is how we get the authority—through this faith. If we don’t have the faith, then ask God for it.
We need to understand Scriptures well enough to witness, but we don’t need to be an expert. We will be asked questions that we can’t answer. That’s OK. We should not use lack of knowledge as an excuse.
Relational evangelism is the best kind, but it has a weakness. Its weakness is that it does not require anything. So, avoid just hanging out and building the relationship and never really introducing the person to God. We must be intentional in this regard.
We have found this adaptation of an 8 hour course entitled Becoming a Contagious Christian to be very helpful in understanding and implementing Relational Evangelism.
Being a Contagious Christian
- Caring for family, friends and associates and displaying that care in a way that communicates your love for Christ and for them.
- Communicating your faith to them in a style that fits you.
- Being judgmental, intrusive, pushy, insensitive or obnoxious
Basic Principles…to be applied throughout
- Outreach to those you know
- Caring and acting on your care
- Spirit led through prayer
- Natural and authentic
- Putting others first
- Small doses
- Don’t force, If it doesn’t feel right don’t do it.
- Capitalize on opportunities
- You don’t carry the whole burden - God is using others too
- Develop an outreach list (and update) with concern but without judging. Include those with spiritual needs:
- Daily prayer for each person on list
- Ask for guidance for each
- Be prepared to listen and act. This may include:
- Fulfilling a physical need
- A relationship building activity
- Spiritual discussion
- Build your relationship
- Avoid the negatives: intrusive, judgmental, self righteous
- As the relationship matures, offer to pray for specific needs and follow up appropriately
- For those that would likely benefit from the Cell Group relationship:
- At the right opportunity tell them about our cell group and invite them to come.
- Take advantage of opportunities and guide them toward opportunities but don’t push.
- At the right opportunity, discuss God’s love and grace and it’s application to your and their lives
Summarized from: Becoming a Contagious Christian an 8-hour course by Mittelberg, Strobel & Hybels. Zondervan Publishing House