How do you see the people around you? Sometimes we who are following Christ fall into a "we versus them" attitude, and if we're not careful, we can become comfortable with leaving space between us and those in our world. But there are only two kinds of people: those who love Jesus, and those who need to.
So, how do we become more intentional about sharing life with those who need Jesus? First we must see them as Christ sees them, as broken lives desperately in need of healing grace. And that shouldn't be hard if we are being honest about our own shortcomings, and our daily amazement that Christ continues to love and accept us. Second, we must delight in establishing real relationships with unbelievers in our sphere of influence. I'm not talking bout kamikaze evangelism here, but a desire to care about others authentically, inviting them into meaningful friendships. Thirdly, we must pray diligently that the Spirit of God would use our conversations, and discussions about gospel themes over time, to turn our friends into disciples who have been given true repentance and faith. Then, we encourage them to start the cycle over again with someone in their world.
While in Madrid one summer I asked a veteran missionary what he wished the American church knew. His answer: "I wish you guys would do church the way we do missions. First, we make contacts. Then we labor to turn contacts into friends, and then pray that the Spirit will use the gospel of our lips and lives to turn friends into disciples. Then we mentor them in the thing of Christ and help them make their own contacts, and repeat the whole process over and over again. That's the way to do church, making and multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ."
So, what about those people over there?