Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
For the past few Sundays, we’ve been learning about the Covenant Church’s evangelism initiative, BLESS. I recently received a great reminder of why relational evangelism is so vital to our Christian life, and it began, of all places, in a political discussion on Facebook.
Now, discussing politics on Facebook is so fraught that I don’t necessarily recommend doing it at all, let alone for evangelistic reasons. I would say that BLESS is the antithesis of trying to convert people by arguing with them.
In this case, however, I reconnected with a friend of mine from high school when he responded to a post I put up. His political position and life experiences are quite different from mine (perhaps not a coincidence!), but because of our friendship from high school, we have enough trust built up to overlook unintentional offenses we might cause, so we were actually able to see each other’s point of view.
After our latest exchange, we were reminiscing about high school, and out of the blue he thanked me for being a positive influence on him, adding, “I started reading the Bible because of some of our conversations.”
I was shocked! Though I remember four years of generally positive interactions, I don’t recall any specific conversations we had about Christianity or the Bible—but I clearly had more impact than I realized.
The only other person whom I could be said to have “led to Christ” was a roommate in college. From my perspective, I simply befriended her, lived life with her (roommates, you know), and brought her to fun things I was doing, which happened to be with my church. The “sharing my faith” part happened so naturally, I didn’t even realize it, as must also have been the case with my high school friend, since I don’t remember doing it.
It’s still important for us to be aware of the people around us. We can ask God to open our eyes to people’s needs, which are opportunities for us to share, and to give us boldness when we feel led to speak. That much still requires intentionality. But if you’re committed to Beginning with prayer, Listening with care, Eating together, and Serving with love (the first four pillars of BLESS), you never know when you might find yourself evangelizing unexpectedly.
Abigail can be reached by email here.