Recently I had written about the need to be ready for evangelistic opportunities (1 Peter 3:15) by PREPARING in advance. The idea is to rehearse and practice and envision situations where you will speak of Jesus or guide a conversation in a spiritual direction in the hopes of reaching a topic that touches on the gospel. Intentionally prepare to be a witness for Jesus.
One of the critical tactics for the ambassador for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) and the spiritual fisherman (Matt. 4:19) is to continually be making new contacts and then cultivating those contacts into real relationships. That means that there is a spiritual discipline in making contacts.
Now why would the believer want to continually develop new contacts? The disciple of Jesus develops new contacts because of the end that they have in view. The end and the goal is to win as many as possible to Christ (1 Cor. 9:19-23), and it is more likely that an unbeliever will repent and believe after a deep conversation with a friend they know and trust. And you become a trusted friend by spending time with another person. But you only get to spend time with someone after you make contact with them and pursue a relationship with them.
Think about your life and your lifestyle and think about where you can establish contacts within your daily schedule. Or think about people you could contact if you changed or expanded your daily or weekly schedule a little. To be a good fisherman, we have to go where the fish are or where the fish might be. Just so we want to make contacts where there
We need to continually make contacts for several reasons. Only a relatively small percentage of your contacts will turn into friendships. Other contacts will never get beyond an introduction. Others will abruptly stop when they find out you are a Christian. Remember that the sower who went out to sow scattered a lot of seed (Matthew 13 – The parable of the sower) and yet only a small percentage of the seed actually bore fruit. Likewise, not all of our “sowing” of contacts will become followers of Jesus. Some people will move away or will otherwise move out of your field of influence. Some people will be your friend, but will never express faith in Christ. Some will come to faith in Christ and will no longer need your evangelism.
The believer would be wise to continually develop new contacts because we have no idea who will come to faith. In Ecclesiastes 11:2, the Preacher says, “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.” Basically, he is saying that the wise man will diversify to increase his odds. Just so, the disciple of Jesus would be well advised to have many contacts.
Having many contacts gives the disciple a lot of practice in both learning how to deepen a relationship (from contact to friendship), but also gives a lot of practice with sharing the gospel in multiple different contexts. “When do a press in?” “When do I let comments or errors go by without comment?” Many contacts gives the opportunity to try many approaches in leading someone to Christ.
Actively cultivate contacts with unbelievers with an eye toward evangelism. Building contacts will provide you with people to bring to outreach events. Having many contacts gives you someone to invite to an evangelistic event at your church. Who do you invite if you are starting an evangelistic study of the book of Mark in your home? Well, you would invite the people with whom you have contact and/or with whom you have grown the relationship to a fairly deep level. So the disciple is continually seeking to bring the fish into the boat.
How are you actively cultivating contacts who can become worshippers of Jesus? Make contacts, develop the contacts and be active in sharing your faith in Christ Jesus. This is a key discipleship skill.
SDG rmb 12/5/2017