I am convinced that the going and making disciples is about involving ourselves with people in their lives. We earn the right to speak to them about Christ by the lives we live.
2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; another, and not your own lips. In other words, we cannot speak our own moral authority; it must be granted by the people around us.
6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. A person has to know he can trust you before he will trust your message.
Our commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20. Here it is in the Amplified Version for clarity:
18 Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore [as you go,] and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”
I recommend the following:
- Learn the names of your neighbors and their families. Call them by name as you see them.
- When you talk to them, ask questions and listen to their stories. Usually, they will ask questions of you, but not always. Some people learn by watching our facial expressions and body responses to what they are saying or while they are talking. For instance, they are watching to see if we are just listening until we get a chance to talk or if we’re really interested. They can tell by our fidgeting when we are ready to go.
- Try not to listen to any gossip (conversation that is none of our business); if you do, try to turn it with a reasonable excuse. At the least, mention that you will pray for that person that things will turn around for the subject of the gossip.
- Don’t let too long go between visits (my dilemma). People enter and exit seasons of their lives; they associate us with those seasons. If they associate us with a past season, then we must begin again building trust.
- Share the Gospel in chunks. Pick a relevant topic and share what Jesus has done for you in that area. Leave the whole package for a Divine Appointment: When they come asking.
Jesus did this again and again in people’s lives: Nicodemus, Nathaniel, Bartimaeus, to name a few. Let’s be diligent to pray for our neighbors and look for opportunities to share what Christ is doing in our lives. The Holy Spirit will move when the time is right. Trust Him even as you are earning the trust of your neighbors.
Abba, You have called us to be salt and light in this world. We are Your ambassadors. Are we doing a good job? Do we even care? What about calling us to places where people need the Gospel–wait, that would mean that we are missionaries…we ARE! We’ve even been commissioned! LORD, call us out of our comfort and into Your ministry. I will look for You to do it in my life this week. Amen.