I’ve heard the stories. A couple gets invited to their friend’s house for dinner. Dinner goes well, the conversation is easy. Then, out comes the white board and the friends are selling a multi-level business opportunity.
I really don’t have anything against multi-level marketing. I have some friends that apparently are doing pretty well with it. But there is something insincere about inviting friends over for dinner when there was another agenda for the evening. In short, it wasn’t genuine.
Evangelism has to be heartfelt. It can’t be a bait and switch scam we run on people. We don’t build relationships with people just to get them saved. It is no more sincere than trying to recruit someone to a MLM by inviting them over for dinner.
What happens if a friendship is based on getting someone saved? Wouldn’t it become the focal point of the relationship? Salvation becomes the goal that eclipses everything else.
I know people that believe their parents love them. They just believe that mom and or dad would love them better if they had a degree, lost weight, or went to church. You can fill in the blank. For the person on the receiving end, it can get tiresome.
Alex McManus was talking to a group of church planters and said that love must be unconditional. We are to love people because that is what God does, but getting them saved is not why we love them.
The unconditional love (or our best attempt) is fueled by the Holy Spirit anyway. This frees me up to love and enjoy my friend without having to push salvation on them.
This may sound too passive, but it is actually quite honoring to God’s timing. God has always opened doors to a message of salvation and eternal life. Hindsight has shown me that I tend to focus on less important issues at hand by having a salvation agenda and thinking I knew what was best for my friends.
The best thing I have found for evangelism is to remember these few things:
- God loves each and every person I will ever meet.
- God wants to make sure everyone has eternal life, even more than I do.
- God is already moving in their lives.
- God’s timing is perfect if I will wait for the open door.
Praying to be able to see and respond to the movements of God in another person’s life is vital to recognizing the first three points.
1 John 4.12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” Our love puts skin on God and makes the abstract, tangible.
I guess I could sum it up by saying that I’m going to love people and let the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting.
What do you think? Is love enough when it comes to evangelism or not? If not, what has worked for you?