Hot Dogs & Eternal Life

People need Christ more than they need food and shelter.  They need Christ more than they need water and air.  It is our responsibility and privilege to reach them.  For years most of our churches have used the attractional model of evangelism.  This approach creates an environment at the church building or an event and then encourages members to invite their friends.  This model has been very successful but it only works with a portion of the local population.  Relational evangelism is the key to reaching the rest.

When I was in High School I took every art and photography class I could fit into my schedule.  In one of my classes was a guy named Chris who was a very talented artist.  During the first few weeks of class we struck up a friendship and I became burdened with the desire to share the good news of Jesus with Chris.

We had an open campus at lunch time and Chris didn’t have a car.  My grandmother’s old 1965 Chevy Impala had been passed down to me so I asked Chris if he’d like to start going out to each for lunch.  Given the choice between cafeteria food and anything else Chris excitedly said “Yes!”

Over the course of the next few months we went to lunch every day and I quietly but consistently lived my faith out before my friend.  In fact, one day we were eating at a place called “Pup ‘N Taco” and we saw a homeless man outside reach into a trash can, pull out a half-eaten hotdog and finish it off.  Chris said, “Dude, that’s sick.”  I ask Chris to wait at the table for a second.

I went outside and invited the homeless man to come in and I’d buy his lunch.  I had $3 and hot dogs were on special 3 for a buck, so the man ordered 9 hot dogs!  He chose not to sit with Chris and me, but instead sat a few tables away and began to feast on his pile of hot dogs.  Chris sat wide-eyed.  He didn’t know what was more surprising, seeing a 17-year-old feed a homeless man, or watching a guy put away 9 hot dogs without taking a breath.  I just acted like it was totally normal.

A few weeks later we were in Arby’s and Chris asked why I’d fed the homeless guy.  I opened up and told him about how Christ had rescued and changed me.  Somehow God gave me the right words to say and right there in Arby’s Chris made the decision to become a follower of Christ!  We spent the rest of the school year together praying together and looking for opportunities to serve people like the homeless guy.

Have a relational evangelism story you’d like to share?  Tell me about it!

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Alan Danielson
Alan Danielson is the Lead Pastor of a church that’s probably a lot like yours. New Life Bible Church is a church of a few hundred people, but not long ago he was on the executive staff of Life.Church in Edmond, OK. Now, along with pastoring New Life, Alan is a consultant and has worked with many of America’s largest churches. Despite this, Alan has a passion for the small church. That’s why he lives by the personal conviction that no church is too small for him to work with. Alan founded Triple-Threat Solutions to help leaders of and churches of all sizes grow. Learn more from Alan at