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Evangelism myth No. 1: You have to build a relationship first

Unsplash/Kate Kalvach
Unsplash/Kate Kalvach

I hear it again and again: So many Christians think they can’t share the Gospel until they’ve built a strong friendship with someone over time and “earned the right to be heard.” They’ve subconsciously bought Satan’s lie that the power to save is in the strength of their relationship with the person they’re seeking to reach.

It’s not.

The power is in the message, not the messenger. This is why the apostle Paul described the Gospel as “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes….” (Romans 1:16).

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Building a deep relationship with the unreached people we know is important. It creates opportunities to share the Gospel naturally along the way. But many Christians end up waiting and waiting for “just the right time” that never actually comes.

How to naturally bring up the Gospel 

Of course, this doesn’t mean we should be pushy. But we should be intentional with every relationship and every conversation. We should look for that natural “fork in the road” in every conversation to turn it toward spiritual things. This could come by simply asking a question, such as: “Is there anything I can be praying for you about?” or “Do you happen to go to church anywhere?”

I’ve used questions like these to open countless Gospel conversations with friends and strangers alike. Some people start sharing their prayer requests or spiritual background right away. Others don’t. Either way, I want to try to take the Gospel conversation as far as it can go without unnecessarily turning that person off.

But it’s been my experience that most people are open to talking about God and their spiritual beliefs when approached in genuine kindness, authenticity, and humility. Of course, not everyone puts their faith in Jesus on the spot, but my goal is to, at the minimum, nudge them that much closer to faith in Christ.

You won't know if you don't try

I remember a speaker once lecturing me at a youth leader event, explaining to me how evangelism didn’t work in the current culture. A crowd gathered as he went on and on, telling me that people weren’t open to hearing about Jesus unless a long-term relationship had first been built and firmly established over time.

While I agreed that we must build relationships with people, I told him it’s weird to bring Jesus up later in the relationship, not early on—that it’s a bit disingenuous to do so. After all, you naturally talk about what you love. And if we truly love Jesus, we can’t help but talk about Him early on.

I also pushed back on his assertion that you can’t just talk about Christ to random strangers you may encounter in everyday life.

I pointed to Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Within a minute of meeting her, He had segued the conversation into a spiritual one. In a matter of minutes, she was on her way back to town to share her testimony with her fellow Samaritans.

As this speaker and I bantered back and forth, a crowd of youth leaders grew. They were locked into our conversation because they had felt that same tension in their hearts when it came to evangelism.

I finally said, “OK, I have a challenge for you. Let’s you and I go out to the streets of Pittsburgh (where we were) and just talk to people for an hour about Jesus. I’ll do all the talking. You can stand by my side and silently pray for them. We’ll see how willing people are to talk about Jesus.” It was a flat-out dare, which was fitting because I’m the founder and visionary of the ministry Dare 2 Share!

The youth leaders gathered around us started chanting, “Do it! Do it! Do it!” But this leader was not willing to put his theory to the test.

Far too many are not.

Take the dare!

I’ve evangelized friends, family, neighbors, and strangers for 45 years. Some I had a relationship with. Others I met on a plane, in a gym, or at a restaurant and engaged them in a conversation.

Jesus told us that our primary mission is to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This assumes that we take the initiative.

Are you? Are you praying for an opportunity to share the Gospel every single day? Are you seeking to turn your everyday conversations toward Jesus? If not, start today!

For help in sharing your faith in love, check out my five-minute crash course on how to share the Gospel with anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Originally published at Greg Stier.

Greg Stier is the Founder and President of Dare 2 Share Ministries International. He has impacted the lives of tens of thousands of Christian teenagers through Dare 2 Share events, motivating and mobilizing them to reach their generation for Christ. He is the author of eleven books and numerous resources, including Dare 2 Share: A Field Guide for Sharing Your Faith. For more information on Dare 2 Share and their upcoming conference tour and training resources, please visit

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