I wrote an email with three principles for doing ministry effectively (in our style). The first was to focus on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. I followed up on this on my blog. There’s a lot to say here about what I didn’t say (for instance, why wouldn’t I say that we should focus on the Crucified and resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?). Which would be a good question if you were to ask it…:)

The 2nd principle that I’d like us to discuss a bit is “building real and long-term friendships.”

In times past, I would have said that building friendships is a waste because we’re just hear to give people the gospel and the friendship can get in the way. Or…that people make friends but never get around to Jesus (both which can be and are often true).

I’ve seen two extremes in my life of following Jesus. Those who do a “preach and run” style of ministry (of which I have done plenty in my life). And those who build great friendships but never get around to the good news of Jesus Christ. And both sides tend to react to the other….

My thought is a simple one ­ why can’t we do both? Why not build real, long-lasting friendships (not just “contacts” but real friendships), AND present the good news!? Why not both!?

Jesus built amazing friendships with the 12 and more. But he never waited to “earn the right” before he would talk to people about the Kingdom and who he was. He didn’t make friends in order to preach the good news…he did both at the same time.

There are challenges to this thought… What are some that come to your mind?