It has been said that if a believer has been a Christian more than three years, he or she has no unbelieving friends. New believers are often the best at leading others to Christ, yet we often recommend that they stay away from their friends. Older Christians must be deliberate in making contacts with non-believers. Mixing it up with unbelievers begins with renewing and disciplining your mind to “think redemptively.” This is a HUGE step in the battle. You have to daily work yourself out of your comfort zone and into the lives of the unbelievers around you.
1. PRAY AND LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET THEM – Ask the Lord to present you with opportunities to mingle with unbelievers. Better still, ask two other believers to pray with you for opportunities and then report to each other. The Lord can give you opportunities in some very obvious ways … and in some very inconvenient ways (such as your car breaking down). As you pray daily for these opportunities, keep your head up and be ready to spot opportunities when they come.
2. DISCIPLINE YOURSELF TO INTERACT – The terrible truth is that sometimes the opportunity comes when you don’t want it to, like when you’re grumpy, tired at the end of a long day, or frazzled at the end of a business trip. You get out of your car after work and there is your neighbor raking leaves; what do you do? Smile, nod and head for the door … or amble over to him and ask how things are going?
3. LEARN TO ASK QUESTIONS AND LISTEN – Some of us chatter on when we’re nervous. If you’re not a people person, you need to have five to ten questions that you are always ready to ask to get or keep the conversation going. One way to “walk in wisdom” is to study the unbelieving people God has put in your life. Listen to your children’s friends, and ask questions about their families. Kids seldom hold back.
4. KEEP A CONTACTS BOOK – One of the first steps in evangelism is to identify your mission field. You may want to write down what you learn about your neighbors so you can keep track of your involvement with them. It normally helps to write down what you learned that day.
So… how many non-Christians are you regularly interacting with?
Excerpt from “Fostering the Harvest,” a workshop on evangelism by Biblical Ministries Worldwide. This resource is available at Amazon.