There is a very unbiblical trend going on these days, that has even crept into some Baptist churches, called "Relationship Evangelism." This is a total man-made philosophy found nowhere in the scriptures whatsoever. Because these kind of churches have forsaken door to door or confrontational soulwinning, like most independent fundamental baptist churches used to do in the past, they have to come up with some newfangled alternative method to try to reach people to supposedly keep their churches going. The main principle in this type of evangelism is to form a relationship with a person first before you witness to them. In reality and biblically speaking, you don't need to form a relationship with someone before you witness to them. If that were the case, there would be a whole multitude of people that would have never heard the gospel and gotten saved. Along with this philosophy of seeking a relationship with an unsaved person, is also the trendy promotion called "Who's Your One?" In other words, we are supposed to just pick out one person who we are going to work on and build a relationship with and try to get them saved. That is just totally unbiblical. That actually throws a wet blanket on soulwinning and does more harm than good. How many people you could have witnessed to, but didn't because you didn't have time to build a relationship with them first. They even have seminars and training materials about using the "Who's Your One" method. We don't need some newfangled methodology and seminars; we just need to do exactly what the bible says about evangelism and reaching the lost God's way. God's way is this: Mark 16:15(KJV): And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Some pastors will quote this verse and then say right after that, "go make disciples," like that is part of the verse also, but it is not. The bible never says "go make disciples."
In the first place, the bible tells us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, not just one person, but to every person. Mark 16:15(KJV): And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Many people have gotten saved on airplanes, buses, trains, and in hospitals, etc. by a stranger giving them the gospel. You could win many souls that way and none of them replenish your church with people. If people are busy preaching the gospel to every creature like the bible says, they would not even have time to form relationships with people.
Secondly, the bible says the harvest is plenteous and ready now. Matthew 9:37(KJV): Then saith he unto his disciples. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. John 4:35(KJV): Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields: for they are white already to harvest. According to the relationship evangelism method of first forming a relationship before you witness to someone, this could very probably take more than four months. And how do you know when the relationship is ripe enough to witness? One article I read about this method even said you may have to wait two or three years before you can share the gospel with someone. I ask you, what if that person were to die suddenly while the relationship phase was ongoing without the witnessing part yet. So you see, it is much better to get people saved now, not wait four months. II Corinthians 6:2(KJV): (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) People are not promised another tomorrow.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that after you've spent much time with this one person, hanging out with them, and getting to know them, etc., that at the end of all that, they are going to get saved. Mark 16:15(KJV): And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16:16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned. So you see, it is God's plan for us to witness to many people, and some will believe on Jesus and some will not believe on Jesus. You don't know which people will believe the gospel and which people will not. Instead of spending all your time with just one person, who may end up being one of the ones who do not believe and get saved, you could have used that time to preach the gospel to many people, and seen many come to trust Christ. Just being a friend to someone does not mean they will automatically believe the gospel just because you are a friend to them. The bible doesn't say to go into all the world and form relationships with people so you can share the gospel with them; it just says to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
For example, in the book of Acts 3,000 souls were saved on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:38(KJV): Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:41(KJV): Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. There was certainly no relationship evangelism there. What if the apostles who preached that day had decided to just pick out one person that they were going to work on and forget all the rest of the people. There surely wouldn't have been 3,000 saved.
The following bible passage in the book of Acts is the story of someone (an Ethiopian) who got saved by a stranger (Philip) giving him the gospel, and then Philip baptized him and left him, and never saw him again. Clearly, the bible teaches us to witness to strangers. Acts 8:26(KJV): And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27: And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship.28: Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.29: Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.30: And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?31: And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.32: The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.33: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.34: And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?35: Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.36: And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?37: And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.38: And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.39: And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
But the people who teach you should form a relationship first, will say, but we are trying to get people saved who we can get in church and keep our church rolls and attendance replenished with new people so it doesn't die off. They even go as far as saying you have to get someone to replace you. If that is your motivation for trying to win someone to Christ, that is the worst motivation ever. The whole purpose of winning a soul to Christ is to keep them out of hell, which is a lake of fire where there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth forever and ever; that is the motivation for soulwinning, not to make your church grow or be replenished. I don't want people to replace me; I want to keep them out of hell. The bible says that Jesus will build his church. We just have to obey his word about giving the gospel to every creature and leave the church growth part to him. Matthew 16:18(KJV): And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The main reason Jesus came was to seek and to save that which was lost, and if we are a true disciple of Christ, that will be our main goal as well. He bore the punishment of our sins on the cross, so we wouldn't have to go to hell and pay for them ourselves. Luke 19:10(KJV): For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Thinking about whether that person is going to be a good church member and help fill a pew in your church, should be the furthest thing from your mind when you are trying to lead someone to the Lord. Many people get saved and never come to church, but at least they are not going to hell; that is the most important thing. Jesus came to keep people out of hell pure and simple.
The following account is where Jesus cleansed ten lepers, but only one returned to give thanks to him. Luke 17:12(KJV): And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:13: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.14: And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were cleansed.15: And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God.16: And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.17: And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?18: There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.19: And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.So in the same manner, some people who get saved are not very thankful to the Lord for all he did for them. Of course they should be, but many are not. That is why many people who are saved don't come to church.
Another very important aspect to consider, and probably the most important, is that the bible teaches us that we should be separate from unsaved people, not have a relationship with them.II Corinthians 6:14(KJV): Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?6:15: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?6:16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.6:17: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.6:18: And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Of course we should love unsaved people the way Jesus loves them and let our light shine to them and try to win them to the Lord, but we should not try to have a relationship with them because according to the above scriptures, what fellowship hath light with darkness, righteousness with unrighteousness, etc. We are supposed to come out from among them and be separate from them, and according to the above passage, that will cause us to have a closer relationship with God our Father. If you spend a lot of leisure time with unsaved people, they will wear off on you and not vice versa. Even Jesus, as our example, was separate from sinners. Hebrews 7:26(KJV): For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; He loved sinners and ate with them, but he was still separate from them; he did not form relationships with unsaved people. He only had relationships with his disciples after they already trusted in him for salvation. In the same manner, we may have acquaintances that we want to win to the Lord, but an acquaintance is not the same thing as having a relationship with someone. The main reason Jesus came was to seek and to save that which was lost.
The bible is very clear about the way to evangelize the lost, and that is through preaching the gospel to people. Mark 16:15(KJV): And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.Romans 10:14(KJV): How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?10:15: And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tiding of good things.
Notice how it says we are to "go" and "be sent." This is talking about actually going somewhere to win souls. It is not to pick out a coworker who you are going to work on, and call that your going; you were already going to work. You need to purposely go out into all the world to preach the gospel to every creature. Luke 14:23(KJV): And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. The bible says in the book of Acts that the apostles went house to house proclaiming the good news of the gospel. Acts 5:42(KJV): And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. They were not out forming relationships with people, they were out preaching the gospel to every person and in every house.
So in conclusion, we should have a burden for the souls of the lost people around us and tell them that Jesus loves them and laid down his life for them when he died on the cross for their sins and rose again the third day. Jesus suffered immensely to keep them out of hell and all they have to do is believe on him and fully trust him alone for salvation. Keeping people out of hell should be the only motivation for soulwinning.
If you are reading this and have never put your complete trust in Jesus alone as the one who paid for your sins on the cross and rose from the grave so that you could receive the free gift of salvation and be sure you are on your way to heaven, please click on the link below. John 3:16(KJV): For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The Bible Way to HeavenPoetry About Jesus and Salvation