In 1 Thessalonians 2 Paul describes his ministry among the Thessalonians: ‘We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us’ (1 Thessalonians 2:8). We can all think of evangelism that involves sharing God’s word without sharing our lives: some forms of door to door and street work. We can also think of sharing our lives without ever having the courage to share God’s word. Paul’s ministry involved both: sharing his life and sharing the word of God.
Every warm relationship starts off as a cold contact. Paul’s motherly and fatherly love for the Thessalonians started out with him preaching in a religious gathering (see Acts 17:1-2). We meet someone we do not know, we share some small-talk, things develop and a friendship forms. So, cold contact evangelism like leafleting or door-to-door visitation can have a place as a way of beginning relationships. We may offer people in the neighbourhood a copy of the Jesus video and as a result begin to develop a relationship with two or three families. The key thing is that cold contacting should lead to relationships. It is not an end in itself; it is only a beginning.