I recently shared with our Sunday Morning Bible Class that I usually begin new member instruction or confirmation class with the goal of 1 Peter 3:15 in mind:
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
As Christian disciples we are called upon to confess, proclaim and serve others in the name of Jesus. Yet, it is only because we have first received life, love, blessing, forgiveness, salvation, mercy, etc. from Jesus that we can hope to share these things with our family, friends, and neighbors.
As a participant in these relationships, YOU already have credibility, access, and trust. Sometimes we miss the opportunity because we’re afraid we’ll be rejected or won’t be able to give answers. Again, you’re not called to be the expert, just to share what you’ve already received from Jesus.
I’ve been reading Make Him Known, a foundation for witnessing from Lutheran Hour Ministries. It gives a few simple ideas for making new connections, building relationships, and discovering where Jesus is bringing His Kingdom. Here are a few excepts:
- Gather or work in public places – If you’re involved in a ministry at Faith, consider holding meetings or studying in public spaces (the library, coffee shops, pubs, parks). You will be able to engage with the culture while working or planning. Think of it like this: is your ministry trying to address the questions of the professional theologian, or your neighbor?
- Join in with what’s already going on – many churches try to start their own programs: food pantries, homeless outreach, If it’s an unfulfilled need then by all means go for it, but consider joining in with existing community initiatives. You won’t have the burden of running it and you get opportunities to serve the unchurched
- Be a regular – adopt a local café, pub, or park as your own. Regularly visit and become known as a local. Change your name to Norm (kidding…) You will build connection and relationship and gain opportunity to be an ambassador for Christ.
- Walk – you can engage with your neighborhood at the street level. You will notice things you don’t from your car. Pray for the people, homes, and businesses as you go. Do it often enough and you will be seen and known in your neighborhood.
Ask God to give you the courage to try one of these with His Kingdom in mind. I’d love to hear about it!