Jesus Christ was a friend of sinners. He made it a priority to spend time with non-Christians. We need to make His pattern our practice in order to have the opportunity to share the gospel with unbelievers. How do we find and cultivate relationships with non-Christians? Here are some principles to remember and put into practice:
Be intentional—Take the initiative. Don’t wait for the unbeliever to come to you. This purposefulness means spending some of your valuable and scarce free time with non-Christians. Keep in mind, though, that the time invested now may mean eternity with Christ to them.
Be sensitive—Listening shows genuine care for them. Also, feel free to share thoughts and feelings. They need to know Christians are real people.
Be prayerful—If the Holy Spirit is not working, they won’t be receptive.
Be patient—Remember, it is a spiritual battle.
Be prepared—Move into the gospel presentation as God gives you the opportunity.
Be proactive—Consider the broad base of non-Christian contacts you already have:
- Immediate friends and family
- Neighbors, co-workers, employees, landlords
- Newspaper carriers, mailmen, barbers or hairstylists, grocery store cashiers, waiters, or waitresses
- Car dealers, insurance agents, accountants, attorneys, bankers
- Doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists
- Plumbers, electricians, mechanics
- Teachers, professors, coaches, classmates
Each of these people in your life has the potential of having the greatest relationship there is—an eternal relationship with Christ. Viewing these relationships in light of that gives us the opportunity of participating in God’s work.