People do think we are weird sometimes when we bring up Jesus. Most of the time it’s not the most effective method to share Jesus with people the first time you meet them or really early on in the relationship. Certainly, there are situations where someone is in a crisis or you just sense that they are open to the message or God moves you to talk to strangers, but most of the time building a relationship is the most effective way.
Talking without a relationship is often not as effective. And sometimes it even closes the door to more conversations later. It’s sort of like being a door-to-door salesman without knowing the person. Relationships are key. With people you really know well, you can share things with them that other people can’t. It might make them upset if someone else said it to them, but you can say things to them because you are real friends. You can say hard things and be real with each other because you trust each other and know each other.
There is a great verse that says: “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov 18:24 RSV).
But the key to really want to build a relationship because we love people. We want the best for others. We want people to know we care. Some of you need to take some risks in your current friendships. You need to take a chance and share about the love of Jesus. Some of you are in a bubble. What I mean is that when we talk about this stuff, you say, “Hey, I go to a Christian school, and all my friends are Christians. I don’t have anyone to share with.” You are blessed to be around people who know Jesus. You’ve been given a special gift there, and because of that maybe you owe something a little extra back. You’ve gone faster in understanding things about God, so you have to work harder at reaching others. If not at your school or in your immediate circle, how about your neighborhood or other outside areas or activities? Look for people to get to know and reach out to them. Show some interest in them. Show them that you care. The Bible says: “Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others” (Phil 2:4 NCV).
It never seems like the right time to share. Sometimes you have to work at making it the right time There’s a book called Outbreak that’s about sharing your faith. With people he knows well and sometimes not so well, the author uses pop culture to bring up Jesus. For example, at the movies maybe there is something about God in the story or there is a hero figure like Jesus. At a Superman movie, for example, you could say that Superman is a guy who goes around saving everyone. That’s kind of the mission of Jesus. And your friend might be like, “What? Jesus is Superman?” Then you have a chance to explain and talk a little.
There’s all kinds of pop culture that can flow into spiritual conversations. You can lead into this conversation with people when they bring up some big life thing, like their aunt has cancer or their grandma is dying or something like that. You can be a real friend in that situation. You can also say, “Yeah, life is crazy. What do you think about heaven and stuff?” Maybe that will lead into a deeper conversation.
A great discussion starter question is to ask, “ Do you have any spiritual beliefs?” You can learn a lot about a person that way. Then you can ask, “What do you think about Jesus?”
I don’t want to share because I don’t know enough about God to answer any questions. Realize that you’re never going to know it all, but you can know enough. Focus on these things:
- Know who Jesus is.
- Know how he loves.
- Know why he came.
- Know what he offers.
Sit down and write out the answers in your own words so you will be ready to share when you get the chance.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (NIV).
People are going to pretend that they don’t care to hear the message, but there is something inside of them, something inside all of us, that wants to know. There is a God-shaped hole inside of us that can only be filled permanently with a relationship with Jesus. People try to fill it with everything else the world has to offer, but it just slips on out. It doesn’t fill the God-vacuum that all of us have without Jesus.
There is a simple strategy to help us called the 360 REVOLUTION. The overall premise of the 360 REVOLUTION is to look around you 360 degrees to see where God is at work and the opportunities he is giving to you to share with others—at work, school, home, wherever you go, whatever you do, and whoever you meet.
The three steps to the 360 REVOLUTION challenge us to:
- Invest in 3 people who don’t know Jesus. These could be family members, friends, teammates, neighbors, cousins, students in your classes, a boss, a teacher, and so on. It can be anyone God has put in your path.
- Pray for them 6 days a week, taking action at least one of those days.
- Miss 0 opportunities to plant and water a seed of truth about God.
In the 360 strategy, we find 3 people, pray for them 6 days a week, and miss 0 opportunities. We will also begin to pray for these three people six days a week.
(Note: Why not seven days? There was a time when Moses was praying and God said, in essence, “What are you doing still praying? Get up and do something.” We are going to do something at least one day a week for these three people. This may be writing them a note, sending them an e-mail, or doing something with them, but do something.)
Check in next Sunday for the Week Four devotional – Commitment to Invite