It has been said that people outside the Christian faith often perceive us to be a lot like mice. If you meet just one, they’re kind of cute, but if you come into a room full of them, they can really freak you out!
Of course, that is true. If someone comes to know you as you spend time together, drink coffee and see each other at work or in the neighborhood where you live – it’s cute. It’s comfortable. You are safe. But, if you invite them to attend Sunday morning with you and there are a bunch of “mice” all gathered together that can be overwhelming for a ‘non-mouse’ and really freak them out. They most likely will not return a second time.
This too should be obvious. You bring them to a service where they are asked to sing songs to a God that they do not know; listen to a teaching from a book they do not believe; at fellowship time they are introduced and expected to talk to people they don’t understand; and give to a cause they do not believe in. No wonder it is a little freaky.
So, what to do? It is simple really. Build a relationship with them on their turf. Go over to their side of the fence. Listen to their stories and become involved in their life. Invite them home for supper and a football game. Yes, I said football. In other words, do something normal people do after a meal. If you know them well enough then supper and a night of conversation (remember – they don’t know what ‘fellowship’ is). Go fishing together; attend a hockey game and go for pizza afterwards. Let them know upfront that you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus but let them see that you are “normal” and live in a real world along with them.
Then, when the time is right tell them about Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom and lead them across the line of faith into the Kingdom and eternal life. Then, bring them to church with the rest of the mice and they will feel like they have found a family – because they have. They will be able to join right in and worship the living God along with everyone else and will no longer think that we are freaky.
Of course, all this assumes that you are building solid and healthy relationships with non-believers and that you know how to share the real Gospel (remember there are many “other gospels” as Paul calls them) in a way that can be understood and received – without using a lot of Christian words that they do not understand. And, that you can then disciple them teaching them the basics necessary for a new Christian to grow and mature in their relationship with the Lord.
None of this comes naturally. It all begins with a deep understanding that without Jesus as Lord and Savior they will be going to hell for all of eternity when they die. It all begins by sharing the heart that Jesus has for the lost (call it a burden of conviction) and thus intentionally going out of your way to be friendly and outgoing so as to build relational bridges where the Gospel can eventually be shared. It begins with an understanding that this is the task of the Church and thus of every true disciple – including you. And, it assumes you yourself are a disciple – a true follower of the Lord who is becoming a “Fisher of men.”