A Simple APPROACH
Many of us know that we ought to share the good news about Jesus with others, but we still find ourselves struggling to actually do so. And so, we need a simple approach to reach the people around us.
Think about the way this plays out in the game of baseball. If my mission is to step up to the plate and move the runner from second to third, is it enough to simply step in the box knowing that this what I need to do? And what are the chances of me getting the job done if I just step in the box free swinging with no specific approach? I might be able to get away with this every now and then, but with no specific approach I have certainly decreased my chances for success and increased my chances for failure.
And so, when it comes to following Jesus and carrying out his mission, we need a specific and simple approach that will increase our chances of being effective.
Our approach to reach others is based on the same approach that Jesus taught his first disciples when he sent them out to reach others. Based on what we see in the two stories recorded in Luke 9:1-6 and Luke 10:1-12, we can breakdown this approach into three key elements.
- Care & Prayer
- Share the Gospel
- Person of Peace
Care & Prayer
First, when Jesus calls his disciples together and sends them out, we are told that he gives them the power to heal people that they will encounter. Now, it is really easy for us to overlook this power and assume that this is something that we cannot relate to and that does not apply to us today. But we must not be so quick to make this assumption. We must not forget that the disciples could only heal those in need through their absolute dependence on the power of God. They could not heal people because of some special power that they had in themselves.
And so, as followers of Jesus today, the first key element to our approach to reach others is to actively look for ways to care for the needs of people around you and to pray with these people. We meet the needs that we can meet, and we pray with people for the needs that we can’t.
When we execute this element of our approach (care and prayer), we don’t have to worry about how we can turn casual conversations into spiritual conversations. We simply ask people questions about their life and listen for ways that we can pray for them. As they express any needs, struggles, challenges or fears then we simply ask to pray for them and with them right then and there.
We must never forget that as God’s special representatives, we have been given the role and privilege to come into the presence of God on behalf of others and to ask him to help meet their current need. And so this is exactly what we seek to do. We look for opportunities to bring people into the presence of God and ask him for things on their behalf. We open up the door for others to experience the power and provision of God.
If those you reach out to are not receptive to prayer then respectfully and graciously move on. If they welcome prayer, then pray with them and take it a step further - ask them afterwards if you can share your story with them sometime about how God has changed your life.
Set a time for when you can share your story with them (ex. “Lets get together tomorrow after batting practice.”), and now you’ve set yourself up to share the good news about Jesus with this person the next time you see them.
Share the Gospel
Next, when Jesus calls his disciples together and sends them out, we are told that they are supposed to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God. Now, we need to be clear on what it means to proclaim the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is two-fold — it is the good news that we have been saved from the curse of our sin, but it is also the good news that we have been saved for the kingdom of God.
If we miss the fact that Jesus came and initiated a world revolution, we misunderstand the good news of Jesus. As the Messiah (Christ; Savior-King), he has initiated the kingdom of God. It is the promised eternal kingdom that has now infiltrated this world and continues to grow within this world all the way up until the day that King Jesus returns (see parables in Matthew 13).
And so, as followers of Jesus today, the second key element to our approach to reach others is to actively share the gospel with them.
When we execute our approach to share the good news about Jesus, we share what we’ve learned from our own story and proclaim how turning to Jesus as our King has changed our lives. We share how his perfect life, sacrificial death and powerful resurrection proves that Jesus is who he said he is, and how he is the only one who is able to put us back into a right relationship with God.
We must never forget that as God’s special representatives, we have been given the role and the privilege of proclaiming the good news of what he’s done in human history and urge others to join the movement and be reconciled to God.
If those you reach out to are not receptive to the gospel then respectfully and graciously move on. If they embrace the gospel or want to hear more, then take it a step further - stay focused on spending more time with them.
Set a plan for how you guys can spend more time together (ex. “Let’s have lunch together once every road series.”), and now you’ve found a person of peace.
Person of Peace
A person of peace is someone you reach out to who receives your prayer and your story with openness and genuine interest. They may not embrace the gospel right away or turn to Jesus as their King, but they are open to hear and learn more. This is the kind of person that you are looking for as you are trying to reach others. Once you find this type of person, stay focused on them and spending more time with them.
When Jesus calls his disciples together and sends them out, we are told that they were to stay in the household that received them and to not keep going house to house. As the disciples healed people and proclaimed the gospel, they were looking for a person of peace. And so, as we care for people, pray with people and share the gospel with people, we too are looking for this third key element - a person of peace.
We must never forget that God has prepared people to hear the gospel before we even walk into their lives. It is simply our responsibility to actively search for these people. Our goal is to identify the persons of peace who are receptive to the gospel. This person will welcome you, listen to your message and allow you to come into their lives to influence themselves and even their own family and friends with the gospel. And so, when you find a person of peace, stay focused on pouring into them.
Many of us know that we ought to share the good news about Jesus with others, but without an approach, we still find ourselves struggling to actually do so. When it comes to following Jesus and carrying out his mission, we need a specific and simple approach that will increase our chances of being effective.
Our approach to reach others is to care for people by praying with people, share the gospel with them and then look for a person of peace. This person then becomes the focus of our attention.
From here, we pour into this person and encourage them to gather any others around them who might need to hear what they're now hearing or who might need to be taught what they're learning. And as soon as this happens, you have now successfully formed a new small group of disciples who are learning a new way of life and a new way of thinking about the world based on the life and teachings of Jesus.