Relationships - The New Evangelism?
by Sim Lee

"Sweet friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9 TPT

In late November 2017, George Barna shared with the nation that 70-percent of all U.S. adults do not identify as born-again Christians and that 33-percent of the younger adults (ages 20 to 30) do not identify with any religion at all.

With the majority holding as faith only that which they can relate to as "faith" through personal life eperiences and science based fact, Barna states that faith in the U.S. is undergoing a "substantial challenge."*

At a time when churches are disappearing faster than they are growing, fewer people are responding to even fewer witnesses of the Gospel. Further, a substantial number no longer care to learn any from a church based evangelical effort, deferring instead to social media source for such discussions.

In a politically correct social enviroment, those of a true bible based faith are afraid to speak of that faith for fear of offending someone or breaking the law.

One person who is looking at what can bring the Gospel to people who do not want "church people" to bother them is Noel Heikkinen, U.S. Midwest Director of Acts 29 Network.** He sees that the best way to evangelize such resistant people is through personal relationships and believes it is the best way going forward in a rapidly changing world.

Essentially, Heikkinen believes that forming friendships first before attempting to evangelize people will lay the foundation of trust and informal attitude needed to win over those who are suspicious of church efforts.

Establishing trust through genuine friendship and then speaking the complete truth of the Gospel with an intentional invitation to respond has had very solid results and this model looks like the most effective method of evangelizing younger adults in the future.

*Researcher George Barna of the American Culture & Faith Institute

**Christian Post, "Evangelizing in America when Christians are afraid to stand out, distrust is growing" by Stoyan Zaimov 12/16/2018

Sim Lee is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.

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