How does being a friend help in the process of evangelism? You might be thinking, "Oh no, no friendship evangelism for me. It's not the way its supposed to be done". Before I make any more statements here, let me say that I am not for 'friendship evangelism' either. The main reason is that, once we make friends with a person, we rarely share the Gospel with him or her. We become afraid to speak the words of truth to our new friends for fear that we might offend them. I totally believe in doing open air work, giving out tracts, doing one on one evangelism, and whatever other ways to communicate the truth of the Gospel with someone, especially people we don't know.
But here is my point; If God is working in a person's heart, if that person wants to get more information about the Gospel, he or she is more likely to go to a trusted friend or church to ask questions rather than call a number on a tract or send an email on the back of the tract.
If you have ever seen the short video called, I got off at George Street (Frank Jenner story) you will understand what I am saying. Frank Jenner was a man who was used mightily by God, by going downtown everyday and giving out tracts to people. Sometimes he would ask them if they were ready for heaven. Some people got angry. Others walked away. But many of them took his words to heart, and when they got back home, they were troubled about their souls and went to a friend or a church they were familiar with to find out more about the Gospel. Many came to Christ. People were affected by this faithful man giving out tracts and asking them the most important question ever. Frank Jenner did his part. But the other people who were friends of the recipients of the tracts were the ones who closed the deal, so to speak. Perhaps they were people who had shared the Gospel with their friend, but the friend was reluctant to respond at the time. The friend remembered though, after he or she got the tract from the man on George Street.
I give out a lot of tracts and ask people the same kinds of questions as Frank Jenner. Now I am also trying to incorporate building a relationship with these people. I want them to feel comfortable when they talk to me. I don't want them to be afraid to ask me questions. I know they might not be ready to respond to the Gospel now, but I want to be open to them so that when the time comes for that, they would be ok with coming to me and asking for help.
1 Corinthians 3:6-8
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. Now he that plants and he that waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.
The good news is that you can both plant and water. God will bless those efforts and they work together. But God is the One who works in the heart.