Should Christians Try to Make Converts?

Well, I know it sounds a little odd, but consider a conversation I had Sunday after church with a visiting couple.  They had visited another bible-believing church near their home, but found that the church was against ‘evangelism’…just for ‘friendship evangelism’.  I really didn’t know that idea was still around, but it is very scary talking to others about our faith.  We don’t want to offend, but we do want to be faithful to tell them what we care about…and we want to be faithful to the Lord’s directive to ‘go…’.

I’ve been in both ditches.  I have taught and done street evangelism…and…I have taught and done ‘friendship’ evangelism.  The truth is that there is another option.  Most of problems arise from TRYING to CONVERT people.  At some level or another we all must recognize some role of freedom and will in the matter.  Regardless of your extreme views of Calvinism or Arminianism…it is still an individual thing for the person to come to faith in Christ and His work for his eternal destiny.

A phrase we started using a few years ago is ‘we’re concerned about contacts not converts’.  Of course, we all hope people will embrace Christ; but really, it’s really only our role to clearly and graciously share the message.  Focusing on converting others invites us toward a hard-sales approach.  Focus on friendship invites us to (often) never get around to the subject.

Why not learn a clear way to explain your own faith and just explain it?— truly, indeed, aren’t the results God’s business and the individual’s concern?  Can’t we share our heart while respecting their autonomy?  This includes NOT SHARING if they don’t want to hear it (of course)!

I’ve notice in Uganda was see thousands each summer put their faith in Christ.  Those who go seem to think it is about how ‘open the people are’–maybe.  All I know, is that we can’t compare America to Uganda until we do in America what we do in Uganda.

Make sense?

Fred Lybrand

P.S.  My friend Larry Moyer has some excellent material with this line of thinking at

One thought on “Should Christians Try to Make Converts?”

  1. Hey Fred,

    My work with TCC includes interacting with Pastors, leadership and ordinary everyday believers about this very subject. We are an evangelism training, support and facilitating local missions ministry.

    Scripture is absolutely clear that we have t have an answer for our hope, and that we have to “go” into all the world preaching the Good News to every Creature. I don’t see an escape clause on this one, we’re to tell everyone.

    However, the issue is how do we gauge performance, success, what exactly is our purpose??

    We are to “preach” the Gospel, and we are to be “witness” of Christ.

    The same Scriptures that tell us to be witnesses tell us that those who believe will be saved, and those who do not will not be.

    The Great “commission” is to spread the Gospel and make converts. It’s a “commission” in that we do our part and God does His. We are commissioned with His authority to preach His words, not to do His work. So the number of converts made is between the people witnessed to and God.

    Is this a cop-out? That’s the question nearly all Pastors want to ask, and some actually do. Aren’t we saying that we claim to be able to teach Biblical Evangelism at the same time we are claiming that we can’t be held accountable for our “results”?

    Not at all.

    Ephesians 4 tells us what the ministry of an Evangleist is – equiping the saints for the work of ministry until we all come to the perfection of Christ.

    That’s what Evangelism is about, it’s about making us more like Christ and more able to help others become like Christ.

    This is our check. This is how we can tell if we are being successful or not. What is the impact on the Christians we minister to. Are they able to proclaim the Gospel with fidelity and passion as they go where they go? Are the people we minister actually “going”? Are they more “Christ-like”?

    I can tell you from experience that teaching people to share their faith, which is to actually preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ not just make friends with people, causes a dramatic change in their Christian walk.

    So yes, we are called to go and make converts, but our part in the “commission” is to preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and have a reasonable answer for the hope it answers – not to convince people.


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