Today my friend Matt Morris, who leads one of our Connect Movement groups, shares what God has been teaching him about building relationships with people who are disconnected from God.
My church just finished up a sermon series on evangelism and discipleship. It was extremely powerful. It challenged the stereotypical norms of church culture. It stretched everyone far more than we thought we could be stretched. It beat into us the importance of community and fellowship with sinners. Yeah. Sinners.
It’s pretty simple, really. We’re all sinners. You’re a sinner. I’m a sinner. Guess what God wants us to do? Hang out with sinners! How fulfilling would life be if you just routinely did the same thing every day and hung out with all of the same Christian folk? Work. Home. Christian folk. Repeat. Boring.
First, if you’re not currently involved in a small group, I encourage you to find one that challenges you to grow in your relationship with Christ. Community and groups are what the early Church was built on. There was no church building, but there were groups of people that met in homes. Those groups became knows as the Church.
Second, if you are in a small group, I challenge you to do something totally different. Take a step back from the norm. You know that neighbor that lives a few doors down who never goes to church? Go talk to him. Don’t be weird. Don’t ask stupid questions. Just show a genuine interest in the life of him and his family. Invite him to a ball game. Talk sports. Take his family some cookies at Christmas. You’ll be surprised at how much he will open up to you over the course of a few months. You know the guy that always asks you to come out for drinks after work but you decline because you don’t want to hang out with people like that? Go! You may have the opportunity to lead him to Christ with your actions. Even better, invite him to your small group.
Look, we are all sinners. The difference between a believer and someone who doesn’t know Christ is this: They haven’t realized that God sent his son to shed his blood so that His grace would cover every sin they’ve ever done or will do. Being a disciple and showing them the love of Christ may get them to that point someday. And when they do, it will be incredible.