FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM: The Caring Way to Share Your Faith by Arthur G. McPhee

Book Review
  • Approximate Time Commitment: 15 minutes

This easy to read, 140 page book seeks to show why “your greatest witness is your deepest relationship.” This book review was written by Hank Griffith of South Suburban Evangelical Free Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Partner: Grow2Serve

Resource Description

Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978


Some books are best read at the time they are written, but others are timeless. They deal with practical issues related to human nature. Friendship Evangelism: The Caring Way to Share Your Faith is one of those books with a universal theme. It is as helpful today as the day it was written over forty years ago. The author, Arthur G. McPhee, was at that time, the radio speaker for the Mennonite Hour.

The theme of the book is one with which I agree wholeheartedly: “The best evangelism takes place in a context of mutual trust and respect.” He acknowledges that many people have been won to Christ through preaching, as well as through personal methods such as “The Four Spiritual Laws” and “Evangelism Explosion”, but he contends that sharing Christ with family and neighbors in a spirit of friendliness is the method that has produced the most lasting fruit. The author affirms the statement of the Institute of American Church Growth that “70 to 80 percent of church growth comes as a result of family and friends.”

This easy to read, 140 page book seeks to show why “your greatest witness is your deepest relationship.” Now in the period of the Covid 19 quarantine is a great time to reach out to those with whom you and I have relationships. If we are willing to share our faith with them we may be surprised to find real receptivity to the gospel.

The rest of this review will be some key quotes from each chapter. I hope they will be helpful to you.



“Both Christians and non-Christians are uptight about evangelism. One reason for this is because of the unnatural, canned approaches that are so often recommended and used. Christians want to share their faith, but not as high-pressure salesmen.”

“This book is not intended to be exhaustive, but introductory. It is hoped, however, that it will be freeing. Too many of God’s potential witnesses are bound by fear and guilt. Too often the salt of the world is bottled up and the light of the world is blotted out because of discomfort with methods, not the message.”

Foreword by Myron Augsburger

“… the style of evangelism must be adapted to the times and the culture in which Christians are sharing faith. Friendship evangelism is one of the more universally accepted methods because it utilizes normal relationships.”

“The sharing of faith is done in the context of loving acceptance of persons important to us.”

“Evangelism is not an appendage to theology, or to the life of the church, but it is an essential aspect of the divine purpose of man, i.e. reconciliation.”

“It should be recognized that the church exists by evangelism. … A truly New Testament church is always a first-generation church! Evangelism is thus the foundation of church development.”

“Too frequently, in the case of some methods, new believers are not accepted readily into the congregation. But with a congregation being led to participate in friendship evangelism, the spirit of acceptance has already been extended to the confrontation of love.”

Ch. 1 The Good News People

“The question is, How does the church get people to come to Him? By threatening? By judging? By coercing? Perhaps on some rare occasions that will work, but the usual way, the Jesus way of winning people, is by bringing them good news, not bad – the Good News of God’s love.”

Ch. 2 What are the Orders

“In our evangelistic efforts these days we stress the importance of methodology and motivation. We say that if Christians are going to be successful in evangelism they need to be boned up and psyched up. They are going to need a program and a system. … Yet as I read the Great Commission and other New Testament passages relating to evangelism, I find that it is these very things that are most conspicuously missing.”

“A witness isn’t somebody who merely repeats what somebody else has told him, or who has mastered the art of getting a message across. A witness is someone who has experienced what he is talking about.”

Ch. 3 Catching Men Alive

“The disciples’ decision to follow Jesus suggests that catching men took priority over their own livelihood as fishermen. … It further suggests that Jesus needs to be sovereign in our lives. We are to be following Him, doing His will, and doing His will means catching men alive (for life). And what a life there is in Christ! The former life does not compare with it. We are more vitally, more intensely alive than ever before in the One who has called us, and it is to that same quality of life that we bring our catch.”

Ch. 4 Caring Evangelism

“While care-less evangelism may result in some real conversions, there may be many more who are turned off against Christianity. Others may conclude that Christianity is no more than a shallow, meaningless gimmick. Still others may go through life with a false assurance of salvation, and to hell with a decision card in their pocket.”

Ch. 5 Invitation to Love

“Love is the motivating force behind evangelism that cares. It is the love of Christ reproduced in men and women like you and me. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19.)

“Effective evangelism needs to be built upon love for two essential reasons: First, love meets a preconceived need in men and women everywhere. Secondly, the God we proclaim is love in His very nature (1 John 4:16).”

“Even animals respond to love.”

“Let us know that in terms of direction and commitment we (in different churches and denominations) are one. … Let’s act as though we are one by exhibiting  what Jesus said would be the evidence that would convince the world of the truth of our claim to be His church  … our love  for one another, even in the midst of temporary differences.”

Ch. 6 Breaking Down Barriers

“Mary H. Hooker said one time that when Jesus found the Galileans disciples, they were mending their nets, and she added, ‘The majority of Christians are always washing and mending their nets, but when Jesus comes along, He tells them  to launch out into the deep and let their nets down. That is the only way to catch fish.’”

“There are three kinds of perceived barriers to witnessing – limited speaking ability, limited intellectual ability, and limited power. But there is only barrier that stops you – yourself. The others are all illusions of an introspective preoccupation, one that with God’s help you can overcome. Therefore, trust God – He will guide you in your witnessing, guard you in your witnessing, and give you power for witnessing. Like Paul, above all else, desire to give God the glory, and you will discover that you – even you – can witness with confidence!”

Ch. 7 Showing or Telling

“Most books on witnessing have emphasized telling when, if anything, the weight ought to be on showing. The result has been a lop-sided witness to the world, long on words, but short on deeds.”

“The most eloquent language in the world is the language of love.”

“Love is not demonstrated just among the down and out, the distressed and the destitute. There are thousands of ways to show love in everyday contacts with fellow workers or students, with relatives, with friends and neighbors, with salesmen, with department store clerks, with fellow riders on the bus or subway, and the list goes on and one.

Ch. 8 Earning the Right to Be Heard

“Someone has said that your greatest witness is your deepest relationships. … For many, faith-sharing is something that you do quickly, almost spontaneously. There is just not the time for developing relationships. There is no attempt to identify with people.”

“What is required? Well, it’s easy as A, B, C, but unfortunately that’s NOT easy! ‘A’ stands for acceptance. ‘B’ stands for benevolence. ‘C’ stands for caring.”

“Our best opportunities for Christian witness come as result of relationships of trust that have been built up over a period of time. Most of the time people are not automatically going to give ear to the message we want so badly to share with them. But as they come to know that we accept them, love them, and are anxious to demonstrate that love in tangible ways, they will begin to open up.”

Ch. 9 Easy Lessons in Conversation

“Start with a question.”

“Dialogue, not monologue.”

“Avoid ‘religious’ language.”

Ch. 10 Making the Most of Opportunities

“Many Christians ask, ‘Where can I find opportunities for witness?’ But the better question is, ‘How can I make opportunities for witness?’ And the answer is by cultivating relationships.”

“If you are alert, you will find that God gives opportunities often. Sometimes a complete stranger will ask you a question flat out that gives you a chance to share Christ. Sometimes the Spirit will guide to turning a conversation into an occasion for witness.”

“When Paul was instructing the Colossian Christians in the necessity of prayer, he asked them specifically to pray for opportunities for spreading the gospel. ‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Pray for us too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains” (Colossians 4:2-3.)

Ch. 11 Life Together

“Caring evangelism is two-fold. First, as we have already seen, it must lead the lost back to God. … Secondly, caring evangelism must lead the lost to God’s people, for community is a vital part of wholeness.”

“How do you incorporate a new believer into the life of the church? … Get your friend involved in a Sunday School class. … Involving him in a small group is even better. …. Introduce your friend to members of the congregation who are most likely to offer the continuing support he needs.  You cannot do it alone. If your friend is to mature, he will need additional person-to-person relationships.”

Ch. 12. The Importance of Following Through

“Often Christian evangelists have been concerned only with getting ‘decisions.’ Some have gone further and talked about the need for follow-up, but there is a great deal of difference between following up and following through.”

“Paul’s follow-through program … First, he visited those for whom he felt accountable. … Secondly, Paul often designated someone to visit his disciples in his place. … Thirdly, Paul followed through by letter.”

“Jesus said that we are to teach new disciples to obey all that He has commanded us. To do that we need to be well grounded in God’s Word ourselves. Reflect back on what that means to you personally. Do you have regular times set aside for Bible study?”

“Still another way to insure that Christ’s teachings get across is by getting the new disciple into a congregation where the Bible is taught.”

“Finally, communicating the teachings of Christ includes training new disciples to become disciplers themselves.”

Cha. 13 Where She Stops Nobody Knows

“As they spin the wheel of fortune, the old carnival barker used to say, ‘Round and round she goes and where she stops nobody know.’ There is a sense in which that is true of Christian witness, for we never know where the effects of a word for Christ will end. This can be illustrated by countless stories … “

“When Edward Kimball led his Sunday School pupil, Dwight L. Moody, to the Lord in the back room of a Boston shoe store, a chain of events was set in motion that affected the lives of F. B. Meyer, Wilbur Chapman, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham, and not one of those men left the world like he found it.”


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.