Every semester, I ask my students to look over and analyze elements of a worksheet that discusses the 55 Personal Evangelism Conversations in the New Testament. Students are asked to
“Draw out conclusions from the level of preexisting relationship in these personal evangelism conversations?”
The following numbers provide the totals regarding the previous relationship prior to these spiritual conversations:
- In 39 conversations there was no previous acquaintance
- In 5 conversation there was a clear previous acquaintance
- In 9 conversations a previous acquaintance is unclear.
As my students evaluated these numbers and looked at particular conversations listed on the seven pages of notes, here are twenty amazing quotes taken from their analyses:
- It is God who does the work of saving people, since He is the One to Whom salvation belongs (Psalm 3:8).
- God desires to use people in evangelism in situations that are ostensibly unlikely to produce fruit. He uses what seems impossible to accomplish His purposes so that He may receive the glory.
- The Holy Spirit can use anyone at any time to reach a lost soul.
- The success rate in conversations showed that those with existing relationships led to a less successful result, and they occurred much less often.
- The boldness of those sharing in the NT is encouraging as they truly had good news to impart to all who would listen and did not need a reason for sharing the gospel with others. The gospel is the reason for starting conversations or sharing the message.
- This ultimately means that Christians must be ready to share the good news of Christ wherever they are and whomever they are around.
- The gospel can be shared in situations where there are no preexisting relationships.
- A pre-existing relationship can be helpful in personal evangelistic conversations, but it is by no means necessary.
- While evangelism can and does take place inside of existing relationships, that should not be considered to be the only way, or even the normative way that evangelism takes place.
- In other words, the evangelist was engage in cold call evangelism. This means that as one enters cold contact evangelism situations, one need not fear because this is actually the norm in the Gospels and the Acts.
- With the clear, pre-existing relationship encounters being such a small percentage at less than 10, this may warrant considering how one can prioritize cold-contact evangelism as much or even more than deep, relational evangelism. Pre-existing relationships are certainly useful, but not necessary in evangelism.
- We are called to go into new areas with the gospel message. We must take the initiative to go into places that are new and therefore have no relationships.
- It would be a grievous sin of omission for believers to only share the Gospel with those with whom that have a personal relationship.
- Christians should be ready to share the gospel at all times.
- Based on this observation, a conversation can be started at any moment, from any conversation.
- With a stranger, people have the blessing of a clean slate as it pertains to their relationship. So, Christians ought to seize every opportunity that they have in order to share the love of God made manifest in Christ.
- Sometimes, a contact feels for comfortable opening-up to someone they don’t have a prior relationship within personal evangelism.
- It is also much easier for an evangelist to share with someone they have no relationship with.
- Preexisting relationships have little importance to the effectiveness of evangelism.
- I need to be more open to having random conversations. And when I have those conversations, I should go into it with a positive attitude as I understand that God can save in the craziest, most random, and unlikely conversations.
Thank you, students. Because in the mystery of God’s sovereign will, through evangelizing, He calls out His elect and not necessarily just our friends.
The Bible is supra-cultural. It always trumps culture and informs culture. Culture must bend the knee to God’s Written Constitution for all of humanity. Biblical teaching and practice rules in every area, including also in personal evangelism.