A significant problem with “friendship evangelism” is that we can end up only reaching “people like us” or even just people we like. And as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:46, if you only love those who love you- everyone does that. Even the tax-collectors.
In addition to our existing relationships we need to cross social and cultural divides. We need to move out of the ghetto.
Almost by definition, friendship evangelism leaves the socially marginalised untouched. And yet these were precisely the people Jesus went out of his way to include.
In Luke 14 we observe God- the Master of the great eternal party- has thrown open his banquet to
“the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (v21). Jesus urges us out of our ghetto in imitation of his gracious Father.
Jesus, himself left the splendour and security of heaven to live and die – among and for us. Us who are so radically different from him and undeserving of his love. And just as the Father has sent him so he now sends us (John 20:21).
(Based on the Porterbrook Network “Evangelism” module; Unit 3: Building Relationships)