When Levi, who became Matthew the disciple of Jesus Christ, accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, he immediately went home, arranged a luncheon, and invited his friends and co-workers to come to his house and meet Jesus. This wonderful excerpt out of St. Matthew’s life is recorded auto-biographically in the gospel that bears his name.
In Matthew 9:9 and following, we are told that Matthew left his lucrative tax collecting business behind and set his life in a new direction by following Jesus. He was so excited about the new direction his life had taken that he couldn’t keep it to himself. He decided that this change in him was news he needed to share with others. And so, he hosted a luncheon with Jesus as the invited guest and he and all his friends and co-workers kicked it with the Master.
You might call this FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM. It is simply sharing with those persons who are in your circle of relationships what Jesus has meant in your life. As simplistic as it may sound, it is in fact, the best form of outreach (evangelism). In this age of market driven religion, we’re prone to think that high powered PR campaigns is the slickest, easiest way to fill up the church with new people.
To be sure, there is a place for PR. But the best most effective way of filling up the church is word of mouth; or friendship evangelism. High powered PR campaigns promise more than they can deliver. People who respond to them come looking for the Hollywood production they’ve seen or heard at the church, and when this doesn’t happen, they don’t come back – ever! And when gimmicks get them in, gimmicks is the only way to keep them.
On the other hand, friendship evangelism is simply inviting someone you already know, with whom you’re already comfortable and who is already comfortable with you and bonding them to the larger Body of Christ.
In this high tech age, we need not think that the simple Bible principles that worked in Jesus’ day will not work in our day. They will. All we have to do is take them seriously enough to do them. Oddly enough, all of us have friends, family members, neighbors, or co-workers with whom we conversate every day, but for one reason or another, we don’t share with them the news about what Jesus means to us and what He can mean to them!
Be a true friend. Share Jesus and help your girlfriend or homey get saved! REAL FRIENDS SHARE JESUS!