What is Friendship Evangelism?

By Tony Miano
edited by Matt Slick

“Friendship Evangelism,” also known as “lifestyle evangelism,” “servant evangelism,” or “relational evangelism,” is a form of evangelism commonly practiced in present-day American evangelicalism. The overarching principle in “friendship evangelism,” regardless of the methods employed, is to befriend an unsaved person with the hope of one day having the opportunity to share the gospel with him or her.

It is both a common and accepted practice among proponents of “friendship evangelism” to spend an undetermined period of time (days, weeks, months, even years) in an effort to develop a relationship with an unsaved person. Proponents of “friendship evangelism” often see the presentation of the gospel as a privilege given by the unbeliever, or a right earned by the believer1, which is made possible through the investment of time and service in a relationship.

Verses and passages of Scripture referenced by some to support the practice of friendship evangelism include, but are not limited to:

  • Matthew 5:162
  • Luke 7:343
  • John 4:1-424
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:1-125
  • 1 Peter 3:156

Common vernacular used by proponents of “friendship evangelism” include, but are not limited to:

“Live your life in such a way that people ask you why.”7

“People don’t care about what you believe until they believe you care.”8

“Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words” (a statement attributed to St. Francis of Assisi).9

There are many available books and training resources related to “friendship evangelism.”10

For an explanation of the many pitfalls of “friendship evangelism," please read the CARM article on the topic of Friendship Evangelism.

  • 1. http://www.biblehelp.org/earn.htm
  • 2. http://www.agapeglobalmissions.org/training/2009/11/05/lesson-nine-friendship-evangelism/
  • 3. http://elmertowns.com/books/online/Win_win/Winning_the_Winnable%5BETowns%5D.PDF
  • 4. https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1993/September/friendship-evangelism
  • 5.
  • 6. http://moreofhisfullness.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Microsoft-Word-5th-Why-Mission1.pdf
  • 7. http://www.livingwaters.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=922:just-a-thought-# 10&Itemid=143&lang=en
  • 8. http://subversivereligion.wordpress.com/page/3/
  • 9. http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/category/saint-francis-of-assisi/
  • 10. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=%22Friendship+Evangelism%22

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.