I am a Christian. I love Jesus, and am greatly thankful for the salvation He has given me. I want others to have that same experience with God, to find purpose in life, and peace and joy today and for the future. The reality is that some people do not want to hear about church or Jesus.
It is quite difficult to share Jesus with people who do not know Jesus and have clearly indicated that they do not want to know Jesus. All of us associate with people who do not yet know Jesus.
How do we share Jesus with them when they have already said they don’t want anything to do with Him or with church?
I think this is an especially difficult reality for those living in smaller rural towns. You know people, and you know their families. People know you and your family. You may have grown up with many of them and went to school with them. They know you are part of a church, and you know they are not. It seems that there is no way to help them see they need Jesus because they have clearly told you they want no part of that.
Some say they don’t come to church because it is too hard with kids. Others say they tried church and didn’t like it, or they were hurt by it, or “they are all hypocrites there.” So inviting them to church seems like an impossible and useless endeavor.
Ok, then. If we are to be faithful to share Jesus “as we go into all the world,” as we go on with life and all of its activities, what can we do to reach them with the good news of great joy? Let me share a bunch of ideas that can all be part of sharing Jesus with unbelievers. These will all lie on a spectrum between no interest in Jesus, to asking how they can become a Christian.
- Pray for at least 3 people you know who do not know Jesus.
- Invite your unbelieving friends into your home for a meal. And just do what you normally do, pray for the meal, have your conversations, enjoy time together.
- Remember their special days. Wish them Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, etc. Maybe even get them a gift for Christmas.
- Be a good friend.
- Tell them you are praying for them. This might work best when they are facing a difficult issue in their life. Maybe pray for them right there if the situation is right.
- Bake cookies and share them. While I was driving truck, my coworkers sure enjoyed days when I brought cookies my wife baked and left them in the breakroom. If you don’t bake, buy your coworkers a dozen or two of donuts or bring in coffee.
- Give them a hand. If you are good with mechanics, offer to help whey they are having car trouble. If you are good with construction, help them out when they are building a deck. If they are sick, take them supper. Use your experience and skills to help your friends.
- Share your stuff. Lend your ladder, or pizza pan, or air compressor. Let them borrow your truck if they don’t have one.
- Do something for them. Take their stuff to the landfill when you take yours.
- Include them in a party or get-together you are having. This is good when you are already having a bunch of church people over. They get to see that everyone is normal – hopefully. And then your friends can pray with you for this unbelieving friend.
- Workout together. I did this for quite a while with one unbelieving friend who was checking out our church. I got to baptize him later.
- Read the Bible together. Some people are interested in the Bible, even if not in church. One member of my small group shared that her neighbor came over weekly to read the Bible together. You can help them understand what things mean.
- Host a backyard BBQ. Invite them to join your family.
- Offer to house sit for them when they go away for summer vacation.
- Share rides back and forth to work.
- Give them a book on a prominent Christian. They may be interested in reading about a certain athlete who did well on the field, oh, and happens to be a Christian.
- At Easter, invite them to watch the latest Easter movie with you.
- Ask questions. Don’t be a pest, and don’t be a reporter, but be interested in the other person’s life.
- Share a hobby. If you find out you are both interested in chuckwagon races, plan to go together.
- Share an answer to prayer with them. People can’t argue with something that you experienced. They may not be interested, but they can’t say you didn’t have that experience. You prayed and God answered in a way you felt was just for you.
- Give them a Bible on a special occasion. For example, when their child graduates, gift them a Bible for Graduates.
- Share your testimony. This doesn’t have to happen all at once, but share bits of your story when it fits in conversations you have over the years. Tell them your experience with God. Tell them how that has helped you in life.
- Invite them to church for special occasions. Christmas Eve or Easter might be good times to invite them. Or if a child is getting baptized, invite them to the celebration. They may come to celebrate with you even in they are not interested in Jesus or church. Who knows what God might say to them in that church service?
- Ask what they believe. Invite them to tell you how they view life. This may make them question what they truly believe, and maybe start them searching.
- Tell them about a good sale. If you found a good deal somewhere, let them know, or even ask them if they would like you to pick something up for them too.
- Speak of Jesus and church naturally. It’s amazing what sometimes gets talked about at work, or after a game. Some conversations may naturally lead you to make a comment about something that happened at church, or what you read in the Bible about Jesus.
- Say Grace. Sometimes we hesitate to pray for our meal when we are at work or out with friends. Don’t make a scene, but just quietly do what you would normally do.
- Invite them to go with you on a missions trip. This might be a little tricky, but if it is more of a hands-on serving trip, rather than an evangelistic trip, it might be quite okay to have an unbeliever join you.
- Go hunting together – whether for a moose, or for that perfect pair of shoes for your daughter’s graduation.
I hope you get the point. If you truly want to win someone to Christ, you need to be a friend. This is not about seeing certain people as a project but just becoming friends with people you are in contact with already.
You may think some of the suggestions in the list are really just about being a good friend and not really about outreach, but that is exactly the point. You need to be intentional, in making friends and being a good friend. The idea is to find ways to be friends, and then talk with them about Jesus as you already do with the friends you already have. We can pray for them regularly, asking God to draw them and work in their lives. It may take years, and then when it happens, it will be so exciting!
Keep looking up