Sadly, women like me don’t get invited to parties.
“Hey, we haven’t seen each other in a while. I have this thing at my house next Friday. I’d love it if you’d come!”
The bait and switch.
Overly nice women with plastic smiles.
Friends of friends chat with nervous laughter.
Name your product. (By the way, it’s ALL half-price on eBay.) Make-up, purses, oils, jewelry, food, weight-loss. We have it all.
The mission: Buy something to help a friend. Mostly out of obligation.
The product salesperson shares an impassioned plea for others to join her journey.
After all jewelry-oil-monogrammed thingy changed her life, and it could change YOUR life too!
After an uncomfortable moment of silence a brave soul volunteers to host a party.
She thinks, “Hmm, free stuff. All I have to do is sucker my friends too.”
A sucker is born every day.
Embrace the product or steer wide. There is no other option.
I have never wanted to sell. To be more precise, I have never wanted a product to come to mind when people see me. Honestly, that’s what has kept me from one-on-one evangelism.
1. Find a non-Christian
2. Find his or her personal need and exploit it
3. Talk about Jesus and the FREE promise of Heaven
4. Go for a decision
Embrace the Gospel or steer wide. There’s no other option.
Early in our marriage there was a couple about our age in our apartment complex. They had just moved in together and the girlfriend discovered she was pregnant. We went out one night to a bar. (Which was really awkward for all of us when we mentioned we don’t drink.) We invited them over to watch a game. (I tried to have a come-to-Jesus meeting during the game, but it spiraled into an unpleasant arguing match.)
We found our non-Christians, but we had nothing in common. We didn’t get to know them and value them, and it was really forced. Love was not leading.
Kind of like a hard sell at a product party.
I don’t think this is what Jesus intended. What I mean by that is I think as He walked this Earth He was invested in people. He looked for non-believing friends to show them His amazing love. He did not have a salvation-brand product to sell and a quota to meet. He cared. He spent time with sinners. He called them out of sinful lifestyles out of love and gave them a hope-filled future. He also shared the challenges of following Him, not just the “Get out of Hell Free” card.
If people in our life don’t embrace Christ quickly there is a tendency to stop investing. We have enough obligations (and church activities) to fill up our time. Frankly, our Christian friends are safer.
A Fresh Start
I “get” Christians.
I even get all different flavors of Christians… Conservative or Liberal. Baby Believer or Seminary Scholar. We can find things to talk about and I understand where they are coming from. I’m invested. We are the Body and we signed up to do this thing together!
I don’t get non-believers. I can do the small talk thing, for a while but then…
Is this conversation going anywhere? Can I go yet? Is my job over? Not having fun here…
I get to a point where I kind of freeze up. I hit a certain depth and I don’t know where to go. Is this relationship one worth going deep? What if I come up dry and they reject Jesus… What if I don’t even really know how to be friends with a non-believer?
Okay, I know I don’t know how to be friends with a non-believer.
I feel like I lose all command of the English language once I figure out someone is coming from a different belief system. So I retreat. It is safe in the Christian bubble. And yet after living so long in the bubble I have become aware I am disobediently living in a parallel universe. Instead of being friends with sinners I broadcast to them**.
Them. As if I myself am not simply a sinner saved by grace.
Even though I know perfectly well I don’t know what it looks like to befriend a non-believer, and fear I will make a complete fool of myself, I currently have this crazy have-to craving. It is none other than a God thing.
It’s not an, “Oh, I better do my part because after all there’s that Great Commission thing and I have to make God happy.” Instead I feel an almost eager giddiness of standing in line for the roller coaster.
Lord, make a person who doesn’t make people steer wide. Help to love and invest in non-believers with patience. Let me be a true friend and share the Gospel not to “gain points” but out of sincere care. Change my heart so I am open to seeing people as YOU do.
**Statistics indicate approximately 40% of all Christian radio listeners are non-believers.
- Want to think deeper about Evangelism? Check out this good article from Intervarsity and this thought-provoking piece about evangelism from the First Things publication.
- Missed this Halloween post? Living as a Christian Zombie?
- My very personal Pink Ribbon experience last October, When I Have Cancer.