A few weeks ago, we covered some important concepts on serving as a group (click here for the article), but today, I want to go a bit more in detail on being a group that extends and lives out the love of God – a group that is, as Jesus puts it – salt and light.
“Evangelism is best done out of the context of a gospel community whose corporate life demonstrates the reality of the word that gave her life” – Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church
In this day and age, how do we tangibly tell others about the good news that has so shaped our lives? Out of love, we want to tell others about Jesus, but how do we do this in a way that doesn’t feel like we are shoving something down someone else’s throat? How do we appropriately engage others with the truth of the Gospel?
Here are five steps that will help us to better share about the wonderful hope that we have in Jesus Christ with our family, coworkers, neighbours, and friends.
1. Developing Trust
This is all about developing trusting relationships. After all, people don’t care what we have to say, unless they know that we care. This isn’t about trying to fake a trusting relationship, this is all about genuinely loving and caring for those around us so that trust is built up between us. This isn’t a bait and switch thing either, it’s simply about being a great friend. Doesn’t everyone need great friends whom they can trust and rely on? That’s what we need to do – be the best friend, coworker, neighbour, and family member that you can be. Why? Because that’s what Jesus would do, wouldn’t he?
2. Having Conversations and Living Life Together
This is all about sharing the stories of our lives. As you continue to develop trust and friendships with others, take time to listen to the stories that have shaped them into who they are today. Also, take time to share the stories that have shaped you into who you are today. When you talk, don’t just talk about the sports or the weather, talk about things that really matter. Invite others into your Christian community, help others understand that Christians are just normal people, we have just placed our hope in something that is eternal. Help others understand what our purpose in life is, and share about the ways that God has intervened in our lives and revealed himself to us. Throw parties and live life together. By doing all of this, maybe others will begin asking questions about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. After all, we believe Jesus is good news, so let’s just share that good news with others. It’s as simple as that.
3. Intentional Prodding
This is all about asking questions – good questions. Share how certain decisions that we used to make in life led us to the conclusion that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Share how our worldview became deconstructed. Help them to see their life and worldview in a different light. Ask how they are meeting their needs, and what their purpose in life is. Speak the truth in love. Pray for them and pray with them if they’re open. How is God already at work in their lives? Ask them these types of questions.
4. Seeking God
This is all about coming alongside others to help them seek God. In this stage, our friends are wanting to intentionally seek after the truth, so help them do that. Engage in conversations with them, study the Bible together, read a thought provoking book together (Soul Cravings, The Reason for God, The Case for Christ or The Case for Faith, Mere Christianity), etc. Encourage them to pray and to bring certain situations before God. Be a great friend to them and live life with them. Invite them out to your Christian community.
5. Crossing the Line and Continuing to Seek God
This is all about helping out friends live out Romans 10:9 – “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Help others come to understand what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and what happens when we make this amazing decision. Share about the hope that we have in Jesus and the way God transforms us when we choose to follow him. Share that we don’t have to have it all together, but that following Christ is more about a trajectory than it is about a destination. Seek God together and be a great friend.
Consequently, being missional and being a follower of Christ is all about being a trusting and available friend – not a coercive or sneaky friend.