From the very beginning of time, God’s plan for man was that he would live in community and relationship with Him and with each other. We were not created to just exist as an island. We were created to relate to God spiritually and to man socially. We were created in the image of God, part of which implies that we have the ability to have a relationship with God, unlike any of the other created beings which God made.
So how important are community and relationship to personal evangelism in a contemporary world? They are very important for the following three reasons:
Distinctiveness – Our Community & Relationship With Other Believers
Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” The one thing that will show all men that we are Christ’s followers is the love we have to one another. The community that we enjoy, the sharing, the fellowship, the love, the way we relate to one another in love, the obedience we show to the “one another” commands in Scripture will a distinctive witness to a lost world. Notice how the early church lived in community with and love toward one another in Acts 2:44-47 “…And all that believed were together, and had all things common…”
Credibility – Our Community & Relationship With Unbelievers
Not only do people need to know why we believe, they also need to know if what we believe works on a day-to-day basis. They don’t just want a list of reasons why we are right; they need a flesh-and-blood person to live out the truth before them. Jesus came to show us the Father (John 14:8-9). He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). John 1:14 says it best, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” God did not just sit removed in heaven; He came down and dwelt among us and showed us His grace and truth. The world does not just need people who pontificate about spiritual truths; they friends who will walk along beside them, care about them, and earn their trust as a platform from which to share their faith.
Salvation – Our Community & Relationship With God
Most importantly, community and relationship are important in evangelism because salvation and eternal life is dependent not on a person’s knowledge, experience, or works; it all hinges on what they do with Christ. 1 John 5:12 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” It is about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is not a religion or a system of good works. It is about being in Christ and Christ being in us. It is knowing Him and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). As we share our faith, the question that must be addressed is the question Jesus asked in Matthew 22:42, “What think ye of Christ?”