Despite being in a church that is heavily invested in the Great Commission, I struggled with reaching out to those who don’t yet know Jesus. It always felt awkward and random to slot Jesus into a conversation, much less invite friends to church.
This improved last year when I was taught some practical action points on how to reach out to friends. There are strategies we can adopt to bring our friends one step closer to Christ. Based on Luke 10:5-11, here is the manual on “How To Reach Out To The Lost”, as written by the best instructor of all: Jesus.
1. Bless them
When Jesus first commanded his disciples to go out and preach the Gospel, he told them to first bless the household they were about to enter.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.” (Luke 10:5-6)
Praying for pre-believers is so important. Sometimes we are so consumed by the need to bring our friends closer to Christ that we forget to partner with God in the process. Pray for their health, for their wealth, for their heart. Pray a prayer of blessing over them. Pray, so that the spiritual atmosphere that you bring into your friends’ lives will start to change things for the better. There is something different about being in the presence of a believer – and that difference is the presence of God, the Spirit of God within us (Exodus 33:14). People may not know it, but they can surely feel it.
2. Fellowship with them
“Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you.” (Luke 10:7-8)
Jesus’ second piece of advice is to hang around, not move around. In other words, to invest in a friendship, and be committed to it. The last thing anyone wants in a friend is an absent figure no one can count on. Study together. De-stress together. Eat together (Jesus was a big fan of this – Luke 7:34). It is through the example of our lives that our friends can take a closer look at who Jesus is. We can’t just tell them who Jesus is. Show them.
3. Minister to their needs
“Heal the sick who are there.” (Luke 10:9)
At some point, your friend may find herself encountering problems in life. Maybe she’s stressed over her exams; or she’s dealing with a breakup or family issue. No matter how big or small the need is, you can meet that need by writing an encouragement card, offering a listening ear, or even praying for them. In short, love and care for them. We are the vessels that God uses to love the lost. You are a blessing. Be a blessing.
4. Tell them the Good News
“Then tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.'” (Luke 10:11)
At this stage, you should have earned yourself enough trust and credibility. Your friend should be a lot more interested and receptive to what you have to say about your faith, about who Jesus is, after seeing for themselves the difference Jesus has made in you. This is your opportunity to preach the good news!
That’s not where the process ends, however. If you study the ministry of Jesus, I realised that after He ministered to people, He followed it up by asking them to turn away from their old way of life. He always sought to listen to those in need before preaching the truth. And so, outreaching is never just about filling the evangelistic service, or force-feeding others with the Gospel. It has always been about ministering and restoring broken people. To love them at where they are at and point them to the greatest Lover of all: Jesus.