As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, friendship evangelism is a popular method of outreach in much of today’s evangelical church. In fact, it is more than just popular: It is the default approach, so much so that it usually seems to be assumed rather than biblically justified. Contrast that with the approach that one finds throughout the Bible—proclaiming God’s message to strangers in public places—which is scarcely mentioned nowadays.

There are probably many who will disagree with me, but I am convinced that the primary reason for friendship evangelism’s popularity is because it seems easy. After all, evangelism is far less daunting when you share the gospel message with someone who has already accepted you, isn’t it? A friend is less likely to reject you than a stranger, right? That makes friendship evangelism easier than sharing the gospel with strangers, doesn’t it?

Not really. Ironically enough, it is actually friendship evangelism that is harder. The longer you are in a friendship with someone, the more reluctant you are to do anything that might jeopardize that relationship you so enjoy. It’s just human nature: We will do our utmost to hold on to something that is near and dear to our hearts, so proclaiming the gospel to our friends will be moved further down our list of priorities as time goes on.

The polar opposite to friendship evangelism—outreach to strangers—while feared by many, is actually the easier approach because fearing the loss of the relationship is not a stumbling block. If a friendship does not exist, it cannot be lost.

God’s commands truly are not burdensome, and this is just as true with the Great Commission as it is with any other of God’s commands. Yet friendship evangelism actually makes the Great Commission harder than it has to be. What God has made simple, we make difficult and complicated because we think we know better than the Giver of the command and set ourselves up to be God’s editors. Our disobedience, our rebellion, and our sinful tendency to rewrite God’s commands are the greatest evangelistic difficulties we Westerners face.

2 Responses to Friendship Evangelism Makes Outreach Harder

  • Hello my brother, Grace and Peace, my name is Adriano I live in Brazil, I found your site through google and found this very uplifting message. I agree that there is more risk in a friendship evangelism evangelism than by contact.
    If possible I would like to talk to you about street evangelism. I want to learn more.
    In the love of Jesus,
    Adriano

  • Jeremy says:

    Hi Ardriano,

    Thanks for your message, and I’m glad you found this post helpful. I’d love to talk about street evangelism with you. Do you have any particular thoughts or questions about it?

    In Christ alone,

    Jeremy

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About the Author



The author of this blog, Jeremy (Jehanne), is a Catholic who strives to think God's thoughts after Him and obey Christ's exhortation to take up the cross daily and follow Him on the way to Golgotha. He likes reading theology, evangelizing, and, of course, writing.