What is “Going to them?”
In part 1 of this series of blogs I asked why a person who is not part of a church should want to come to one…from their perspective. In part 2, I proposed a simple (but not original) strategy for reaching the ones who won’t come to us: go to them.
“Going to them” is a vague statement, but I’m not just talking about going into the streets and doing random evangelism. There were two things I mentioned specifically that I think the church will have to increasingly learn how to do well:
1) Cultivate relationships with those outside the church.
2) Plant tangible expressions of the church where people are rather than asking them to come to us.
I specifically mentioned Missional Communities at Remedy as our primary expression of this. I want to get into a series of posts describing missional community in a general sense, but also as a way of clarifying a strategy to “go to them.”
But before I do that, I want to bridge that gap by saying that I know mission is hard. I know cultivating relationships is a hard thing, especially with those who think and live very differently than you. I get it because it’s also hard for me.
Because that’s true, I want to give a few short thoughts and a few simple ways we can begin to live on mission.
A Few Simple Tips
Most in the church have good intentions, and that’s true about mission and reaching the lost. The problem is, we’re all too busy, stressed, and tired to “happen” into it. So if we are going to actually live these things out, we will have to do it on purpose. Think through where you go, when you go, and who you go with. Be aware of who’s around you when you go. Do things with purpose, and look for opportunities to talk to people.
Put it on Your Calendar
Let’s be honest…most of us are busy enough that if we don’t carve out space by putting something on the calendar, it’s not going to happen. So if you want to live intentionally with lost friends and neighbors, put it on your calendar. Plan to invite people over on a night of the week. Do it every week or every other week. Plan to go to the park with your kids at a time when others are there. Plan to have coffee out some morning, put it on your calendar, and invite several people to join you just to hang out.
Do Normal Things
Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to mission. It feels like we have to do something super-spiritual or out of the box in order to “win” people. At times God does give us unusual opportunities, for sure, but it doesn’t normally happen like that. The majority of our opportunities to meet people and have conversations about Jesus and what God has done for us will happen because we do normal things in purposeful ways with consistency.
In light of that, here are ten normal things you can do to live on mission…
- Invite a person, couple, or family over (or out) for a meal.
- Play in the front yard or the street in front of your house, and look to meet people who come by.
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood or apartment complex at a time when people are likely to be out.
- Talk to your coworkers about their lives. Ask questions and listen well.
- Volunteer at schools or city events.
- Engage other parents in your kids’ activities.
- Do something to bless a local organization, non-profit, or fire station. Go in person and meet the people.
- Host or co-host a holiday party.
- Go out to eat at the same restaurants, ask for the same servers, and strike up conversations with them.
- Pray. Ask the Lord to show you moments and places in your regular routines that you can begin to engage with purpose.