Evangelism ~ The Law of First Encounter

The Law of First Encounter

The Law of First Encounter


The Law of First Encounter

The Law of First Encounter states “the first meeting of any two people offers unprecedented opportunity for mutual benefit.”

Almost everyone intrinsically knows the power of the first encounter. Aphorisms abound about the first time people meet. Think of “Love at first sight” or “Your first impression is usually best.” Business and marketing gurus advise, “You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one.”

Did Jesus See the Importance of the Law of First Encounter?

Related to evangelism, the Law of First Encounter carries more significance than most people realize. Look in the Bible and examine Jesus’ own outreach ministry.

  • Jesus ministered to Philip the first time they met (John 1:38ff).
  • Jesus ministered to Peter (and even changed his name!) at their first meeting (John 1:42).
  • Jesus spoke to Nathaniel through a life-changing word of knowledge at their first encounter (John 1:47).
  • Jesus called James and John to follow him at their first encounter (Mark 1:19ff).
  • Jesus spoke to Matthew with a first encounter call to “Follow Me!” (Matthew 9:9).
  • Jesus initiated a conversation and healed the paralyzed man at the Sheep Gate (John 5:6ff) at their first encounter.
  • Jesus healed the blind man by making a clay spit ball and sending him to the Pool of Siloam the first time He saw him (John 9:1ff).
  • Jesus ministered to Zaccheus in such a way that the tax collector experienced a sudden conversion at their first encounter (Luke 18:9).

The list could go on. Jesus sent out the twelve and later the seventy. Their ministry would be nearly 100 percent with first timers.

Of course, Christ formed close relationships with some people. He spent much time with the twelve disciples. A number of women traveled with the group (Luke 8:1-3). The three siblings, Lazarus, Mary and Martha were close with Christ. Beyond these, it’s hard to think of any others. Can you name any?

Let’s focus on two significant facts. First, several men who experienced meaningful first encounters with Christ became disciples. Second, Christ’s evangelism focused on strangers. Can you think of any instance where Jesus formed an ongoing relationship with someone and eventually invited them into the kingdom? Did Jesus practice or model “relationship evangelism?”

Jesus reached the multitudes and discipled a few. Only a few did Jesus admit to His inner circle. Those few disciples had the privilege of hearing Him repeatedly. To them He gave special training and tasked them with the responsibility to further His Kingdom. These became His “church,” His social network, His friends.

The inner circle proved highly significant. The fact is often missed, however, that His outreach was almost universally with “one-offs,” random meetings, and strangers at the initial encounter.

What will it take to Implement the Law of First Encounter in Churches Today?

I contend apostles must rise up and reestablish this supremely powerful evangelistic concept in local churches. The expansion of spiritual or geographical territory is a sign of an apostle. How better to demonstrate the mark of modern day apostleship than to re-store personal evangelism—a burned over, barren, and largely ignored field—to modern day churches.

Do You See the Importance of the Law of First Encounter?

How does the Law of First Encounter affect your ideas of evangelism? Was your last witness opportunity with a friend or with a stranger?  I’m interested in your thoughts about this. I identified the Law of First Encounter by studying the Scripture. It fits perfectly with the concepts of “Chicken Evangelism.”

I sincerely hope this law will liberate us to become more Christ-like as we yearn to see souls saved.  It’s working for me and it’ll work for you.

Please send me your thoughts.

Thank you,



This article is copyrighted by B Mark Anderson

One thought on “Evangelism ~ The Law of First Encounter”

    Hi Mark and Phil.
    A challenging post and one that has much food for thought.
    Notwithstanding whether any of us have special gifts such as Envangelism, Apostles, and some others, we all have at least one spiritual gift and we are all called to “give a reason for the hope within us” whenever someone asks.
    And who can respond to the Gospel unless they are first told about it.
    Personal evangelism was something I embraced wholeheartedly when I became a Christian in 1974. I was 28.
    I went to work each day armed with my pocket new testament and a bag full of tracts.
    I engaged into lots of conversations with people.
    Four of my work colleagues,back then, became Christians as I personally led them to Christ.
    I started a weekly workplace Bible study that had much impact.
    One colleague at least listened to my proposition after I was “armed” with a new evangelism tool (The F.O.R. plan) but declined to go further.
    Two of my friends who responded back then have died and I am grateful that they had given their lives to Christ.
    I did try randomly speaking to people such as a young waitress in a restaurant.
    She ran a mile. (My wife was with me at the time).
    I did meet people randomely,eg on a bus, and still do and have had some interesting outcomes.
    I threw myself into Church work and became leader of a newly formed youth group and used any opportunities I had to “witness”.
    It is sad that today the Gospel,in Australia anyway, is not really spelt out and expounded from Churches.
    People once came to a Gospel meeting to hear the Gospel.
    Many churches here no longer have a Gospel meeting.
    My wife and I have built many “bridges” with people over the years but are increasingly aware it is time we boldly ask them to walk over the bridge to Jesus.
    We look for those opportunities.
    It becomes so much more important when you are visiting them on their death bed.
    A Law for Last encounters?
    Whether there is a law of First Encounter or not people who Jesus won were actually confronted with the Living Lord.
    When we confront people we had better be showing the “Living Lord” in us.
    It is interesting to note also that Jesus did not win everybody.
    Neither will we. Sadly.
    I appreciate the article and your thoughts.
    God bless.
    Geoff Thompson
    Adelaide, South Australia.

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