Relational Evangelism: The 5-Minute Rule
At Intentional Churches, relational evangelism is a hot topic. We believe it is one of the most effective strategies God gives us to reach the One for Christ and grow as disciples. (Check out ways to create an Invite Culture here and more about the One here.)
But what happens when the invited One shows up on the weekend? Do we offer clear easy next steps? Are we leading our teams to intentionally engage newcomers? Even in a church setting, it can be a sacrifice of our desires to go after the One through relationship. With busy schedules, kids to feed and other weekend demands, it’s no wonder that many make a quick exit after service.
Horizon West, a portable campus of First Baptist Orlando, is not a new church plant, but like many plants, they meet in a school and require weekly setup and teardown. Earlier this year, Horizon Campus Pastor, Chris Ogden and his team installed the 5-minute rule, a principle that IC Coach and church planting leader, Ron Sylvia, has shared with thousands of church planters over the years. “When you’re portable, the tendency is to begin breaking down as soon as the service ends. But there is a critical 5-minute window just after the service that can make all the difference in starting conversations that move others toward Christ. Because new people are typically the first to leave, we tell teams to take 5 minutes immediately following the service, find a new person, not someone they know, and talk with them before they head for the doors.”
When the service ends at Horizon West, no one moves toward teardown for at least 5 minutes. Instead, everyone on the team intentionally seeks out someone new or someone they’ve never met. Every visitor doesn’t necessarily want to have a long conversation, but, “Hello, my name is . . . “ may be all it takes for someone to take their next step.
It’s only 5 minutes of our time, but relational evangelism is one of the antidotes to Christian consumerism. It fights our consumer culture through the sacrifice of:
- our time to stop, meet, and listen
- our preferences to reach those not like us
- our talents to serve
- our fears to share life
- our money to resource the church’s mission
The Great Commission IS our mission. Sharing the Gospel is our ultimate calling. Never underestimate the Kingdom impact of sacrificing just 5 minutes to start a conversation. We have infinite power because of the Holy Spirit, and he can open the door to the right conversations that lead others to know Christ.