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Relational Principles

The question may arise: “How can I approach someone I know very well, such as a friend, family member, a fellow worker in the marketplace, or someone with whom I have previously shared?”

Some general relational principles need to be regarded:

1. Be genuine in your communication.

2. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

3. Convey a spirit of love, humility, and courtesy.

4. Avoid an attitude of condescension, judgment, and condemnation.

5. Ask for the person’s permission.

Some possible approaches that may be used:

1. Use the conversation guide FIRM [Family, Interests, Religion, Message]. Although you know the person well, you can still talk about family, interests, religion, and message. The conversation can be even more meaningful since you do already know one another. You may ask such questions as: “How are the children? Where do you plan to go on your vacation? How was your golf game Saturday?”

2. Use bridging statements and secure permission to discuss the person’s religious life and to share about Jesus. Some possibilities I have used are as follows:

  • “You and I have talked about our relationship with Christ at other times. Have you thought much about it lately? May we talk about it again'
  • “We know one another very well, but we’ve never discussed our relationship with God. May I ask you a question about that?” (Wait for a response.) “Have you come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way, or would you say that you are still in the process?”
  • “I feel that I need to apologize to you. We’re friends (or family), but I’ve never shared with you something very important to me—my Savior, Jesus. May I tell what He has done in my life?” (Wait for permission, then share your personal salvation testimony.) Then ask, “Have you come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way, or would you say you are still in the process?”

I’ve been thinking and praying lately about something very important to me—your relationship with Jesus. May I ask you a question about that?”

Darrell W. Robinson, People Sharing Jesus, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), pp. 67-68