Yesterday I talked about Evangelism 2.0: Evangelism for the Rest of Us. If you haven’t read that post, I encourage you to back up and read that one first.
Once when I was presenting this information to my church, a friend and member decided to take me up on this and started making friends. But somehow he missed the “redemptive” but got the friendship stuff right. He was a fairly new Christian and began friending this couple. Then one night, he made the decision to invite this new couple out. My friend and his wife took them out for drinking and dancing. Yes, you read that right…. He was so excited about it when he came back…I had to correct him anyway. I reminded him that you can’t redeem someone if you stay where they are. It’s true that Jesus came down to our level, because we couldn’t get up to his. Yet, he didn’t leave us there. He said, “I don’t condemn you, but go and sin no more.” In other words, our friendships have to be redemptive for Evangelism 2.0 to work.
Another time, a friend would go out and get into all kinds of theological arguments with people, seeking to win them, I guess? Now understand this with me. I believe our theological arguments stand the test. I’m not afraid of proving from scripture what my beliefs are. But I tend to leave that for Evangelism 1.0: Reaping Meetings. This friend was trying to get the redemptive part, but missed the “friendship” part. They must go together.
Soon after we were married, my wife was on a Bible study visit with me. The lady we were studying with talked about her aunt who was in heaven and helped her. I just ignored it and moved on. My wife asked me why I didn’t get into the State of the Dead with her. My response was this: “We’ll get there, but this was an emotional feeling she has. If I would have taken her on today, she would have shut us out. We’ll keep studying with her and she’ll come around, because she’ll learn that we are trustworthy and we are friends.
Trustworthy. Friends. Redemptive Friendships. Don’t forget both parts…. Evangelism 2.0: Evangelism for the Rest of Us.