Many Christians understand they should actively engage non-believers by “loving their neighbors” and “sharing their faith” but research shows that most never do my response. In fact, most church attenders struggle with sharing their faith with non-believers. There is a stigma in American culture that no-one wants to hear about faith. I have even met people who would rather serve than share their faith and visa versa but the truth is you can’t simply pick one. Our faith requires us to do both.
I have found that serving other by “doing unto others as you would have them to do unto you” (Matthew 7:12) builds a relational bridge that then allows you to share your faith. It is a great way to obey Jesus’ command of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Once we have built the relational bridge it is then much easier to tell our story and how it fit’s into God’s greater story.
I learned a really great strategy, that uses the acrostic B.L.E.S.S. to help me remember how we can live on mission right where I live. I don’t know where it originated from but I learned it from John Burke, a local pastor here in Austin.
- B- Begin with prayer. Ask God how you can be a blessing to those around you. Praying consistently in this manner will help you to be more aware of the needs around you.
- L- Listen. Don’t talk, yet! Be intentional to ask people questions with the intention of learning more about them. Many people are struggling through life and God and in need of a Savior. When we are willing to show genuine concern by listening to their story they will be willing to share about things you might be able to help with.
- E- Eat. Nothing builds relationship quite like breaking bread. Spend time having a sit down meal, or a coffee with someone to build relationship.
- S- Serve. If you listen with people and you eat with people they will tell you how to love them and you’ll know how to serve them.
- S- Story. When the opportunity presents itself, you now have an opportunity to share. Prayerfully, after spending time with this individual you are now authentically friends. Friends can talk about things that strangers can not. Share your story, of how Jesus changed our life.
Embark on a life of B.L.E.S.S.ing others. Here are some ways to be present in different areas of your life.
In Your Neighborhood
1.) Help a neighbor with yard work.
2.) Throw a block party
3.) Prepare extra food and deliver it to your neighbor
4.) Find out your neighbors birthday and get them a card.
5.) Start hosting a play date weekly for other stay at home parents
6.) Create a Facebook group page for your neighborhood
7.) Start a walking/running group in the neighborhood
On the Job/School
8.) Treat a co-worker/classmate to lunch
9.) Start a book club that meets at lunch time
10 j1ngv0r.) Start a group for co-workers/classmates to serve at a local charity
11.) Hang out with a group of your co-workers/classmates after work/school regularly. (Go bowling, to play pool, etc.)
Out and about
12.) Become a regular at an local establishment (Barber shop, restuarant, coffee shop). This is a great way to meet new people, and build new relationships.
13.) Volunteer at a local non-profit
14.) Take up a new hobby (cooking class, join a sports league, working out)