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                       "RELATIONSHIP EVANGELISM"

               Building Bridges (Developing Relationships)


1. Before beginning this lesson...
   a. Spend a few moments sharing with one another your lists of
      prospects for which you have been praying
   b. As a group, take the time to pray in behalf of these souls...
      1) Asking God to be with them
      2) Asking God to bless your efforts to set before them the proper
         example, and to one day reach them with the gospel of Christ

2. As stressed thus far in this study, the key to "Relationship
   Evangelism" is developing meaningful relationship in which we can 
   increase opportunities to share the gospel

3. But as pointed out in the first lesson, there are factors which 
   hinder our effectiveness:
   a. Too many people - tempting us to relate to no one since we can't
      possibly relate to everyone
   b. Misunderstanding "separation" - causing us to become isolated
      from many in the world

4. The end result of such factors is that many Christians no longer know
   how to develop meaningful relationships with new people!
   a. We have forgotten how to "make friends"
   b. Like someone who has been married so long that when widowed they
      have forgotten how to "go on a date"

5. The "Evangelism Prospect Flow Chart" is a tool to assist us in
   developing meaningful relationships...
   a. To those we hope to reach with the gospel, it can help us to
      "Build Bridges" (develop relationships)
   b. Later, we shall see how it can help us to "Let The Traffic Flow"
      (use the relationship to share the gospel)

6. Before we examine the four stages of "Building Bridges," consider
   the following explanation of the "Flow Chart"...
   a. The "Flow Chart" is a tool to aid one in developing relationships
      with others which we hope will result in their obeying the gospel
      of Christ
   b. As you gradually progress through the eight stages of developing a
      relationship, mark the appropriate box, indicating that the 
      particular level of the relationship has been attained
   c. In some cases, more time will be spent at one stage more than 
   d. Also, in some cases the stages might be attained in an order 
      slightly different than shown on the chart
   e. The important point is that this chart should enable us to see 
      where we are in our relationships with our prospects, and help us
      know what would normally be the next stage

[Now we are ready to consider the first four stages in "Relationship 

The first stage pertains to how we can meet people, which is very 
helpful if we do not currently know anyone to put down on our 
"Evangelistic Prospect Flow Chart"...]


      1. Choose to be where people are
      2. Be friendly and willing to talk - Pro 18:24
      3. Take the initiative to meet people and make friends
      4. Try to leave the person with a favorable impression

      1. Around the NEIGHBORHOOD...
         a. Be outside when your neighbors are; e.g., doing yard work
         b. Have an open house
         c. Neighborhood cookouts, block parties
         d. School and children's activities:  PTA, Little League, etc.
         e. Homeowners associations
         f. Canvassing work for health organizations
         g. Welcome new neighbors
         h. Join a club
      2. At WORK...
         a. Coffee and lunch breaks
         b. Work projects together
         c. Business trips
         d. Office parties
         e. Meetings, seminars

[As one follows suggestions like these, it should give you plenty of 
opportunities to start developing meaningful relationships.

The next step is for those people with whom we are past the "just met" 


      1. Your goal is to simply get to know the person better
      2. Ask questions about them; e.g., where they are from, where they
         went to school, interests, family background, etc.
      3. Look for common interests
      4. Be patient - don't force the relationship
      5. Don't hide your Christianity; let your light shine early in the
      6. Short, frequent contacts seem to be more effective than a few
         prolonged periods - Pr 25:17
      7. Listen for the other person's:  desires, fears, aims, goals, 
         burdens, needs, - cf. Ph 2:3-4
      8. Be complimentary (in all honesty, of course) - cf. Ac 26:2-3

      1. Around the NEIGHBORHOOD...
         a. Invite the neighbors in for dessert or dinner
         b. Game nights
         c. Recreational activities together
         d. Shopping
         e. Watching TV
         f. Picnics or barbecues together
      2. At WORK...
         a. Eat lunch together
         b. Recreational activities together:  golf, tennis, basketball,
            walking, etc.
         c. Continued conversations while working
         d. Participate in their activities outside of work
         e. Business trips
         f. Attend meetings, seminars together
         g. Car pool
         h. After work activities
         i. Bowling leagues, softball teams

[Now that we have become better acquainted, it is important to allow the
beauty of the gospel to be seen in our lives.

The next two stages in "Relationship Evangelism" makes this possible,
the first one being to...]


      1. Expect opportunities for service, and be alert for them
      2. Your goal is his (or her) success in life
      3. Love is shown more by deeds than by words - cf. 1 Jn 3:17-18
      4. Meet genuine, practical needs
      5. Let them be of service to you as well, and be appreciative

      1. Around the NEIGHBORHOOD...
         a. Volunteer to help with kids; e.g., baby-sit, provide 
         b. Take over desserts
         c. Take meals over during times of crisis (sickness, death)
         d. Shovel sidewalk, mow lawn
         e. Help them with their home projects
         f. Help work on their car (or, in my case, computer)
         g. Cards, gifts on special occasions
         h. Be alert for emergencies
         i. Ask them to help you
         j. Help them move
      2. At WORK...
         a. Volunteer to help them with their work
         b. Offer to bring them coffee, mail, etc., if you are passing
         c. Be alert for opportunities to be a "sounding board"
         d. Be alert for domestic needs:  car, wife, children
         e. Cards, gifts, cake, on special occasions
         f. Look for opportunities to praise them and their work
         g. Ask for help, advice
         h. Be willing to take on menial tasks
         i. Let them get the credit, or share the credit, when it is due

[If we are doing these sort of things with regularity, the next stage 
will likely come naturally.  But to make sure that we accomplish the 
last stage in "Building Bridges," let's consider the...]


      1. Work to develop common interests
      2. Deepen the relationship:  develop openness, honesty, trust,
         ease in communication
      3. Have good times, memorable times, together
      4. Acceptance, not reformation, is the concern at this stage

      1. Around the NEIGHBORHOOD...
         a. Continued conversations over coffee, meals
         b. Make use of the home - theirs or yours
         c. Special outings of longer duration
         d. Consider taking short vacations together
         e. Extended work projects around the house; e.g., putting up a
            fence, or painting the house
         f. Wood gathering trips
         g. Hobbies
         h. Recreation, exercise
      2. At WORK...
         a. Overnight trips where there may be extended times to not 
            only work together, but to converse
         b. Seminars, training together
         c. Volunteer to team together on projects
         d. Pursue activities outside of work
         e. Invite over to your home
         g. Have dinner together with spouses and families


1. To this point, the objective has been solely to "build bridges," to
   develop a meaningful relationship

2. You will notice that up to this point no effort has been made to 
   actively discuss "religion" or try to "convert" the person

3. But very important steps have been taken:
   a. You have made a friend
   b. Your example of service has hopefully introduced them to a 
      lifestyle that is rather unique in our society
   c. By your friendliness, by your service, the "soil" of their hearts
      is being prepared for the "seed"

4. Our next lesson will deal with the "planting" of that "seed;" or to
   put it another way, how to use the "bridge" we have built to "let the
   traffic flow"

5. If you are using this material in a class with others, between now 
   and the next session...
   a. Mark those stages you feel you have already accomplished with the
      names of those on your "Flow Chart"
   b. Make definite plans to do something (using the suggestions above)
      with one or more of your prospects during the week...
      1) Either to strengthen the stage of the relationship already 
      2) Or to move up to the next level of the relationship
   c. If you do not have any prospects on your "Flow Chart" yet, make
      plans to do one or more of the suggested activities found under
      "Initial Contact"
   d. Be prepared to share your successes or failures in fulfilling your
      plans at the beginning of the next session
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