I work with Christians as I am in full-time ministry. Here in North America and overseas in Eastern Europe I spend my time ministering to, teaching, prophesying over, and consulting with Christians and their leaders. It is a tremendous task that the Lord has given to me and I am thrilled to be involved doing what I do for His Kingdom and in His Church.
However, that means that if I want to fulfill the mandate of the Church – which is also the marching orders for every believer, because we are the Church – I have to be intentional about relating to and sharing with non-believers. I literally have to go out of my way to develop relationships with non-believers. And, of course, I do.
I meet non-believers everywhere I go. So do you. I talk with them while filling my car up with gas; I chat in line-ups waiting to pay for my groceries and then with the cashier who is scanning the order through the cash register scanner; the lady behind the counter at the post office (who made a donation to my work in Ukraine after hearing a bit about it); and every other place I go during the daily events of my regular life. But, I ‘m talking here about deeper and more permanent relationships that will allow me to share the gospel in word and deed on a regular basis and thus be more than a three minute interruption in a person’s normal routine.
Most Christians work with non-Christians and so see them every day and have frequent opportunities to chat about their faith and how it relates to current events and things that are happening locally. Of course, this takes being focused and one needs to be intentional in their approach and determined to bring their faith to work with them. However, I work with Christians so I need to focus even harder at finding places to connect to non-believers where building a long-term relationship would be possible.
For this reason – and for health reasons – I go to a gym every day that I am in my home city where, if you go about the same time every day, you meet up with the same people almost daily. This gives you a few minutes every day to build a continuing relationship … and, in my life, this has led to several more indepth “relationships” over a cup of coffee on a cold winter’s afternoon after finishing my gym routine. I have also managed several decent “locker room relationships” with an on-going daily conversation about spiritual things while changing, showering, dressing…
However, something I have discovered talking with non-Christians … they are quick to tell me that most people they know who call themselves believers appear less than “authentic” and are actually fairly boring to be around. They say this usually in a very positive way noting that I am coming across as a real person and not as superspiritual; as one willing to discuss issues of faith and not as someone who is pushing my beliefs down their throats. They actually tell me, at times, that they enjoy the conversations (and the coffee, I suspect, as I usually buy), and that I am “fun” to talk with. I take that as a compliment although I have been told by some Christians that I am simply too “secular” and should not be so comfortable and “at home” with those who are so worldly and who do not follow the Lord Jesus.
Here’s what I believe: I believe that it is time for true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ to become “real” so that they can relate to those around them in the hope of being salt and light in the world in which we live. I believe that Christians need to develop whatever skills are necessary to come across as being authentic and real – real people who are walking by faith in a real world. Afterall, that is what non-believers are looking for. I believe we need to become very “intentional” about this – studying what it will take, analysing what we do and how we live, speak, dress, act and interact. I believe that we need to work at being people that non-believers could enjoy being around – because, in general, we are not.
Have you ever noticed that most believers are boring? Yup! I really believe that. They are so heavenly-minded they are of little earthly good. Maybe it is because I was a pastor but most Christians spend most of their time telling others how hard life is and are often giving an “organ recital” – my bladder leaks, my liver aches, my feet hurt…” I simpy don’t find believers full of life and exciting to be around. And, if I have that problem as a believer – I am sure it is true for the majority of non-believers.
So, here’s my point… Do you come across as someone who is authentic and real?
So, here another point… Are you being intentional – building “authentic” relationships with non-believers?
And a third point… Are you someone others enjoy being around?
Honest answers and hard work to improve in these three areas would go a long way to seeing the lost won to the Lord – who was intentional, authentic and fun to hang around with.
And, by the way, if I am being too “secular” as some Christians claim – one wonders what they might say about Jesus who hung out with and enjoyed the company of prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners of all kind.