The Power of Relational Evangelism
Marshall Windsor’s book teaches a natural process for soul winning
Many Christians don’t witness because they don’t know how to do it naturally. They also think it will offend people when they try. Marshall Windsor’s L.E.A.R.N. Evangelism Handbook helps believers overcome their fears by providing practical tools that work in the real world.
Using the acronym LEARN, Windsor shares five evangelism insights:
- Listen to God’s Spirit and the other person.
- Engage in conversation.
- Ask questions to start conversations.
- Relay a part of your spiritual journey along with the gospel.
- Never quit.
A couple of my recent experiences in witnessing and evangelism confirm the value of these insights.
Last year, God’s Spirit placed a burden on my heart to share the gospel with Ken, a relative living in Toronto. I began praying for him. This fits Windsor’s first principle of listening to the Spirit and praying for people He puts on our hearts.
On my next trip to Toronto, I determined to engage Ken in spiritual conversation — the next principle. A preliminary diagnosis I received of a potentially serious ailment gave me the opportunity (thankfully, later tests provided a much better prognosis).
I said to Ken, “For the first time in my life, I came face-to-face with the real possibility of death. You’re in good health. But no one lives forever.”
I then asked, “What will happen when you die?”
This led to a 30-minute conversation in which I relayed the good news of God’s forgiveness through Jesus, abundant life and eternal life.
Ken didn’t respond at the time, but I knew God had planted a seed. Two months later, doctors found that Ken had terminal cancer. He spent the last two months of his life in the hospital. His sisters-in-law, who were believers, spent several hours with Ken almost daily. They cooked and brought dishes he liked to eat. They fed Ken so well, he actually gained weight.
We should never quit sharing God’s love through words and actions.
In addition, two Christians witnessed to him. Ken accepted Christ two weeks before he died. As Windsor says, we should never quit sharing God’s love through words and actions. LEARN evangelism works!
Another principle Windsor emphasizes throughout his book is that evangelism is a process. We should not feel discouraged if someone does not respond to our witness. Instead, we should faithfully do whatever God calls us to do and leave the results to Him. Sometimes we get to serve as the final step in the process.
Recently, I was a guest speaker at a small church. About 20 individuals attended the service.
Afterward, a woman came up and said, “I believe my friend wants to accept Christ.”
A short conversation confirmed this, and I gladly led the friend in saying the sinner’s prayer.
Minutes later, a fellow came up and said to me, “There’s a man [here] who I believe desires to become a Christian.”
A brief exchange proved this true. I led the man to Christ.
Two out of 20, I thought. Not bad.
However, later I learned the full story and realized I could take little credit. The woman who accepted Christ had attended for nearly a year. In visiting the church, she had become good friends with the person who brought her to talk with me.
Because of this relationship, she kept coming to church. This gave her a chance to learn about the Christian faith, receive answers to her questions, and observe the quality of life displayed by believers.
Others had already done the hard work by the time I spoke with the woman. As the last step in the process, I only needed to provide the slightest nudge for her to step into God’s kingdom.
The man who accepted Christ had attended for a few months. His heart had also been prepared through meaningful relationships. Again, I had the easiest part!
Windsor’s book deals with relational evangelism, the single most effective way — and the most natural way — to witness. If congregations would befriend visitors, and members would make friends in the community, we could see a much larger harvest of souls.
Pastors and leaders, get this book and teach it in your church.
Marshall M. Windsor, L.E.A.R.N. Evangelism Handbook: Giving Away the Greatest Gift (Rolla, MO: Chalfant Eckert Publishing, 2019).