For our good and His glory, God determined that the Gospel of forgiveness would get to the hands, heart, and mind of sinners through the hands, heart, mind, and mouth of forgiven sinners. In order to engage in evangelism, then, we must commit ourselves to cultivating relationships with non-Christians.Consider these 2 quotes (HT: Dave VanAcker) regarding this subject:
“In our [churches] we are often so busy saying, ‘Come, come, come. Come to our…program. Come to our beautiful facility. Come to our activity.’ We even have it turned around so that we find ourselves getting mad, disgusted and discouraged with…people because they don’t come. And yet Jesus modeled going. How can we expect others to come before we have gone to them” (Sonlife Foundations p.66)?
“Contacting, or reaching [people] on their turf, involves getting to know [them] outside the church setting! As [Christ-followers] we cannot sit in the office [or church] and expect…people to come to us. Jesus modeled the ultimate form of contacting—he became a human just so he could be with us and die for us. Howard Hendricks describes the importance of contacting this way: ‘You can impress people at a distance; you can only impact them up close. The general principle is this: the closer the personal relationship, the greater the potential for impact’ (Leadership, Summer 1980). Ninety percent of discipling [ministry] is relationships – so the question is not whether contacting should be a part of discipleship, but how we can effectively build relationships…” (Sonlife Foundations p.69).