The Biggest Challenge?
The statistics are frightening: within two years of becoming a Jesus follower, a new believer will have lost meaningful contact with their previous not-yet-Christian friends.
It’s pretty obvious to work out how this happens. An enthusiastic new disciple attends church on Sunday, prayer meeting on Tuesday, house group on Wednesday, helps with the youth club on Friday and often attends conferences on Saturday. Result? No time or energy left to be a ‘friend of sinners’ which, ironically, would make the new believer more like Jesus!
So, how can we redress the balance if this is the situation we have ended up in? There’s a lot to say, but here are several things we could do:
Begin by talking to God about lost people and sooner or later you will start to talk to lost people about God! Pray for particular work colleagues, neighbours, old friends or brand new contacts.
If you need to build relationship bridges, how will you do that? How will you start to get to know people? Join the gym? Start a Neighbourhood Watch? Attend the Women’s Institute? Start an evening class? A book club?
Find something you’d like to get involved in and go along; even better if you can find another Christian to come with you!
1Peter3:15 encourages us to be prepared to answer the questions of people who are far away from God. Would you know how to share the Good News about Jesus in, say three minutes? What about if someone asked you about all the suffering in the world, or why Christians are anti-gay, or why believers think they are right and everyone else is wrong?
Don’t panic! There are plenty of resources out there to help equip you with great answers to these kind of questions! Contact me if you’re not sure where to look!
It’s the new evangelism! Can you make a decent cup of tea or coffee? Any good at making cakes (or buying some!)? Can you order a takeaway? Then, could you invite someone in? Excellent! Job done! You are being Good News and eventually you’ll be speaking Good News!
Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but to save it (John3:17). If we are not careful, we can come across as ‘holier than thou’ kind of people. Why should those who are not yet Christians behave as if they were? Try to keep giving off ‘accepting vibes’ to your new friends. It doesn’t mean that you have to agree with their lifestyle choices or actions, but they need to know that you accept them as they are even if you would disagree in an agreeable way with some of their views!
Between 70 - 90% of those who come to faith in Jesus do so, humanly speaking, through the strong influence of a friend. So, for you and I to step out and participate in relational evangelism is not compulsory; it is vital and literally a matter of life and death!