Evangelism Is Relational


Unless you know a person and their journey, they will not listen to you. Notice what Jesus did on the road to Emmaus.

I began working with emerging adults when I was asked to lead a Bible study by several young adults in my church. I had known most of them since they were children, so I agreed to help them get it started. Famous last words! That little Bible study developed into the ministry we call Kairos. It’s now about 1500 young adults and students. I haven’t missed many Tuesday nights with them for the past seven years. While I am not sure how well I have done teaching them, I can tell you they have done a good job of teaching me.

The one area in which I am learning the most is in evangelism. Every Christian is called to share their faith, but in this postmodern setting, we must do it in a very different way. What surprises me is that it’s not a new way; in fact, it’s ancient. What I have learned on Tuesday nights lines up almost exactly with what I see Jesus doing on the road to Emmaus. (See Luke 24:13-35.)

Over the next few blogs, I will be expanding on some of the lessons I am learning from spending time with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and spending time with emerging adults on Tuesday nights.

Here is the first lesson: Evangelism is relational.

This was true for Jesus then, and it’s true for us now. Unless you know a person and their journey, they will not listen to you. Notice what Jesus did on the road to Emmaus:

  • Jesus joined Cleopas and his friend on their journey.
  • He didn’t worry about their destination. Jesus just walked with them.
  • He didn’t demand that they turn around, or change directions. He walked with them.

I am impressed that Jesus didn’t seem to be in a hurry. He was content to walk in their company.

In working with post-moderns, we have to be intentionally comfortable in establishing relationships. We should know their names, where they have been and where they want to go—all of this before we take the risk of speaking.

In our attention-deficient culture, the most important gift you can give someone is your unhurried focus—your company. Walk with them. Listen. In time, as happened with Jesus and His friends as they walked, they will want to hear your story.

Every good lesson has a quiz. Here’s today’s:

  • Who are you walking with?
  • Who has God placed you alongside – at the office, the gym, the Starbucks you visit every morning?
  • Look around where you live, work and play. Who is crossing your path daily? Might you be a companion on their journey?

Work on answering those questions. I’ll be back with Lesson 2.

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