Over the last couple of weeks I have seen a couple of great examples of how you do relational evangelism. Simple, easy and straight up. Here are 5 lessons I have learned from 2 guys who made it look easy.
Example 1: Touch Footy
Every Friday afternoon I play touch footy. The main reason for me is to simply get fit, but it also allows me to spend time with people who are not Christian in a social setting. This is a social game with a lot of Christians and some non-Christians who come.
One Friday I watched a guy who played on the side opposite me. He was playing with some teenagers who, it was clear were not Christian. He spent the game celebrating their wins, laughing together at their mistakes, encouraging them when they got it right. He was not a great player (he was old and slow like me) but through this he was able to build a relationship with these kids over a matter of 40 mins of play. What he did at the end was what made the whole thing (I was listening in on the conversation).
“Great game. Hey, do you guys want to come to church on Sunday?”
These guys obviously have never been asked before, “Ummm…what time is it?”
“6:30, just over there, it will be great”
“Oh, OK, I will have to ask my mum.”
“OK, I might see you there then.”
Did they come? I am not sure yet, but this was obviously the first time that anyone had invited them to church. It made me and the other ‘professionals’ who play look bad!!
Example 2: Cooking Classes
OK, I didn’t actually see this, it was my wife. But this is what I understand happened. My wife went to a cooking lesson with a friend. Next to them were two guys who had come alone and were paired up. Over the course of the lesson here are some snippets of the conversation she heard.
“So what do you do, B?”
“I am in full time Christian ministry, actually.”
“Wow, I never met anyone who does that. What’s it like?”
“I love it, I get to teach people the Bible and talk about Jesus…”
Later in the lesson
B: “Do you want a lift home?”
“Sure, thanks, I live over at X though”
“Actually that is completely out of my way, I am going to Y, but I would love to do it anyway”
What happened in the car? Again I don’t know – these are real examples, but my guess is that there was some conversation about church, Jesus or Christianity.
What did they do?
Since both these conversations were overheard, I don’t have all the details nor what happened. But here are some of the things I think they got right
- They were enjoying the activity they were doing. When B walked in, he had a joy and friendliness about him that made my wife and her friend say “I bet he is a Christian” before he had even said anything. Turns out they were right. The footy player was enjoying the game and would have anyway.
- They were friendly. We talk about ‘building a relational bridge” but really its just about being friendly, asking questions and being nice.
- They looked to serve. They were seeking to help the others who were around them and in one case even go out of their way to drive someone home. The other was looking to help the guys be better players.
- They were not embarrassed to be Christian. One of them said “Church is great” the other said how much he loved Christian ministry. Sure we should expect persecution, but that does not mean we should take the “good” out of good news.
- They were looking for the opportunity and in some cases made the opportunity to talk about church, Christianity or Jesus. Because of all the things above, when they did it wasn’t an awkward introduction.
I have to admit that I am writing this post because I had an opportunity to talk last night. It was flung on me out of nowhere and I failed at point 4. When asked what I did, I could have been clearer and more, well, happier that I do what I do as a pastor.
It’s really not rocket surgery. These guys made it look easy, because it is. We just make it harder than we need to.
Do you have other stories of where you have seen it done right?