The Importance of 1-1 Evangelism
Each of us has our own story of how God led us to trust Jesus.
It’s no surprise that coming to know our personal and relational God often starts by being introduced to Him, in a personal and relational way, by someone who knows and loves Him.
As Christians, we have the privilege of being that person who can introduce lost friends to Jesus.
Regardless of the lack of church experience amongst our friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, God is working in people’s lives and I’m sure you can think of individuals who have shown some interest in the things of God. This is when one-to-one evangelism shines. An invite to church, other evangelistic events or courses may be a step too far for your friend at this early stage in their journey, but there is a more realistic and comfortable step they could take towards Jesus.
If you were to offer to spend time with them, one-to-one (in-person or online), to look into Christianity, that would most likely seem fairly low-risk from their perspective, and probably a pretty kind and generous offer that sparks some curiosity. It’s usually us, the Christian, who will be more intimidated by the prospect!
Trusting God for whatever might happen, putting the offer out there can be as simple as saying something like: “You know how I love the Bible and my faith really helps me, have you ever looked at Jesus in the Bible for yourself? Would you like to have a look with me?”
You may be surprised by just how many of your friends would take you up on that offer.
There are so many benefits to one-to-one evangelism, here are some:
Your friend will feel valued | In an age where technology has encouraged quantity over quality friendships, and people increasingly feel isolated (particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic!) the significance of this point can not be underestimated.
Flexibility | You can meet whenever and however suits you best without having to rely on church-based schedules. You can also make it clear that there is no obligation to keep going if they don’t want to. Just ask at the end of each session if they’d like to do it again.
Confidentiality | It’s a safer context for them to explore and ask questions without too much embarrassment. You don’t need to know all the answers, by the way, you can find out together.
Personal | Your relationship will likely deepen as you spend more time together and discuss your own situations, thoughts and experiences. They will be able to get a closer look at what a Christian’s life is like through your example too.
Understanding | You can go at your own pace to maximise meaningful understanding along the way.
Next steps | You will be able to journey with them and help them take helpful steps towards Jesus. At some point, for example, they may be ready to go along to church, an event or to a course and you can be there alongside them.
One of the beautiful things about moving from just having conversations about your faith to looking at the Bible together is that it takes the pressure off us. We can let the gospel tell the gospel.
Christianity Explored Ministries have just released a 21-day reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app based on their course Christianity Explored. It allows you to open up Scripture with anyone and asks the questions that we so often find hard to ask. Find out more here. Another great resource is The Word One to One.
One-to-one evangelism can be costly because it requires time and commitment but it can also be worth it. There are lost sheep out there that the Lord is pursuing, can we play our part and introduce them to His voice?
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Written by Christine Armstrong, Evangelism Worker at All Souls, Langham Place