Years ago, I was doing evangelism door-to-door, by myself, in Salt Lake City. I was inviting people to a friend’s new church. I was totally excited about Jesus and wanted to tell everyone I met. So I took a week of vacation to knock on doors and engage people in conversation. Short story: There weren’t always smiling faces at the homes I visited. I was very alone, discouraged, and soon came to realize that reaching out with a partner is a much better strategy than going solo. The day I returned home, I took a girl out to explore a long-term relationship. We got married four months later. (There’s more to it, but I’ll keep it short for now.)
Have you ever noticed the difference between having a conversation with one other person and having a conversation with two other people? The conversation with two has a very different dynamic—it’s often more energized. Where we may be shy alone, we can have courage with another. Where someone I’m talking with might not be open to me, they might be open to the person with me. Going with someone else completely changes the equation. It brings relational depth. It calms nerves. It brings collective wisdom. It brings strength. If one is bold, the other may be gentle. If one is smart, the other may be sensitive. If one has wisdom, the other may have youth and energy.
We often hear the phrase, “The Power of One.” One person can make a difference. One person can share Christ. One person can change the world. But that’s not the way Jesus emphasizes effective outreach. He consistently sent his disciples out in pairs. Why? Because in community, there is power:
- After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. (Luke 10:1; NIV)
- “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35; NIV)
And Jesus! When two…or three…or more believers are together, Jesus shows up in a special way:
- “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20; NIV)
How do our outreach and evangelism strategies harness the power of community? Can those we are seeking to reach see us relate to each other? Two people inviting another are more powerful than one. Two people loving another are more powerful than one. Two people facing an intimidating conversation are more powerful than one.