It always challenges me to think through the number of times I have invited people to come along and find out about Jesus.
Often we get the idea that sharing the gospel can only be done via a loud speaker and a platform. We have all had experiences of people who have chosen an insensitive moment or an insensitive way to share the gospel and we can easily shut down (and shut up!) so we are not seen to be like them.
But as we have seen in the book of Acts, this is not really an option for us if we are going to be obedient to the command of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Jesus wants those that follow him to have a heart for the gospel and to go about “gossiping the gospel” wherever we go.
So when was the last time you invited someone along to hear the message of Jesus, or when did you last try to share the message of Jesus with someone else?
Can I suggest that you first of all develop the habit of speaking about your relationship with Jesus in your normal everyday conversation. The Bible puts it this way: we are to give a reason for the hope that we have but to do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
When people ask what you are doing during the week, why not speak about the Bible study you go to and what book of the Bible you are looking at? Speak about your commitment to church on Sunday morning and what you like, gain from and contribute to this time. You might try to speak to others of a pertinent ethical issue and the Christian perspective on it.
Sometimes news items or TV programs can ridicule or criticise Christianity but this gives us a great opportunity to give people a real Christian perspective rather than the often biased and ill-informed views the media offers.
If someone you know shares with you a happy or sad moment in their life, why not let them know you will praise or petition God concerning what they have shared? Of course make sure you really DO pray for them! Then you can follow up and ask them how things are going sometime later.
Another thing you can do is develop the habit of inviting others to do things like Carols on the Hill, Everyday Women nights or other church events. You could invite them to church to see what it is like or what might have changed since they last came. A great way to do this is to also invite them to lunch afterwards. Christmas is a great, natural time to invite people along.
Sunday lunch is also a really useful time to have people over and even if they are unable or unwilling to come to church with you before hand, you can certainly talk about the church service that you have just come from! Make sure you don’t miss church because you have visitors for lunch (wider family or friends), because that speaks loud and clear to them that you don’t really value church and we don’t want to communicate that as Christians.
Of course, people will not always jump at your offers, invitations or conversation starters. Do not be discouraged by this. Instead, prayerfully, sensitively and appropriately seek more opportunities, trusting that God will reap the harvest in his own time. Remember it is the Spirit’s job to change people’s hearts; it’s our job to simply obey and tell people about Jesus.
So back to our mission statement: how are you going at “reaching people to know Christ”? Let’s encourage one another to refocus on this. My plan in 2012 is to consciously work harder at being someone who is “Reaching People to Know Christ”.
Will you join me?