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Enjoy The Journey

Relational Intentionality

Relationships are the greatest assimilation and evangelism tool that the church has. Advertisers and marketers tell us that “word of mouth” is the best means of advertising. In fact, the owner at the place where I get my haircut refuses to advertise because her “clients are her billboards.” Within the context of church planting – and evangelism as a whole, relationships are the key to effective and permanent church growth. The problem is that people can “smell” your intentions a mile away. So how do we become intentional about Christ in our relationships?

I think there are several keys:

1) Truly care for the people that you know – Matthew 22:39 “Love your neighbor as  yourself.” Because of one’s love for God – the outpouring element of that relationships is the love one shows to others. In our relationships – we have to truly care.

2) Prayer is a big part of these relationships with intention. I John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask according to his will he hears us.” We need to learn to pray for openness to the gospel among those we have a relationship with.

3) Don’t speak too soon. Spend time with people before dropping the gospel card. I’m not saying that you should hide the fact that you are a Christian, but for me (mainly because people know that I’m a minister) they are expecting that I talk about God immediately.

4) Look for opportunities to share as soon as possible. Now I know that contradicts my prior statement – but many times you’ll find an open door. I am a minister – obviously – and people expect me to talk about Jesus – so let’s talk about him. The barrier is disengaging awkwardness or feelings of resentment toward you and the conversation. This goes back to the first point – disengage them because you care – they will know that you care for them.

5) Share, share, share, share – if you are a Christian and you seek to be obedient to Scripture, specifically on the issues of evangelism, the natural outpouring of Christ is natural – thus every relationship becomes intentional.

For many people who have been burnt because of the zeal of some Christians who share their faith in a “wrong way” – in my mind there are two probable reasons: 1) They are very resistant to the gospel and no matter what you do – they’re going to reject it, and 2) They have just been “attacked” by a very immature Christian who either hasn’t learned to balance zeal with good interpersonal skills – or they aren’t concerned with the person, rather they are concernde with the “notch” on the gospel gun belt.

Be intentional – but be relational as well. Don’t hide anything – and always present yourself as one who has been changed by God’s grace.

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