Three Types of Evangelistic Contexts: Contact, Context, and Friendship

Few things are more enjoyable than being in partnership with the God of the universe.


Over the years, I have noticed at least three different kinds of evangelistic contexts we may encounter when engaging in personal evangelism. Of course, if there are three types of contexts, there may be 33; but for the purposes of this article, let’s look at these three.

First, there is contact evangelism.

This is the kind of situation similar to what is depicted in John 4, where Jesus meets and speaks with the woman at the well, or the passage in Acts 17, where it speaks of Paul in Athens talking to anyone he happened to meet in the marketplace (or Agora).

Unique to this context is the fact that the one with a heart to share the love of God and his offer of forgiveness in Christ goes out and encounters whoever happens to come by. The context is one of intentionality.

Both Jesus and Paul are there with the goal to share the gospel with others. It is interesting to note that both begin their discussions with what is accessible and noteworthy, common to all parties. Jesus begins his discussion with the woman at the well with water. He even puts himself and his needs at the disposal of the woman and begins with the request, “Give me a drink.” She is surprised by the Jesus’ disregard of social custom and her curiosity awakens. From this, the discussion begins and opens up until the gospel is presented to a hungry soul.

Similarly, Paul is talking to those he meets also using the signs he observes in the culture. Consequently, he is brought before the intellectuals of Athens as they gather at Mars Hill. Here, Paul’s observation of Athenian culture provides further points of contact and he is able to open the door wider, enabling him to share the gospel also in the context of growing curiosity.

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