Have you ever found yourself in a situation where some obstacle gets in your way? Where your desire to get from one place to another is blocked by factors you find too hard to overcome. Normally this is not too great an issue. Just give up, or slowly find another way around the issue.
Increase the temperature. Imagine a life and death situation. A situation where the obstacle just has to be overcome because if not, you lose your life! The urgency will force you to take risks that you would not normally take.
Friends, I wonder whether we need to increase the temperature.
As Christians, we stand on the safe side of the obstacle! In sin, without the gospel of Jesus we are lost and unable to overcome the obstacle in front of us – death. At some point, the reality of this life and death situation became clear – and possibly at some risk, you decided to give your life to Jesus. Praise God. Welcome to a safe place.
Now take a look back from your glorified and safe position. There are people stuck on the other side of the obstacle and they are too scared to take the risk. Unless something happens they will die lost.
Has our safe position meant that the temperature has gone down? Are we enjoying the blessings of being in the gospel, but forgetting there are many others who could join us?
Known to us at 5pm Church we have family, friends and colleagues who are not saved. They are stranded on a cliff with nowhere safe to go. But we can help (with God’s help). What they need is the gospel of Jesus.
But, for many the thought of walking into church is just too big a step. I suspect for many at 5pm Church, the thought of inviting a family member or friend or colleague to church would also be too big a step.
So here are a couple of suggestions:
- Purposeful prayer – pray for opportunities to introduce friends or colleagues to Jesus. If you are doing God’s work, may as well talk to God about it beforehand!
- Consider Candidates – work out who around you might be someone to introduce to Jesus. The team you work with, the other members of your sports team, the total stranger that you happen to frequently run into, the mothers from mothers group, the guys at the pub, the barrister at your favourite café, whoever.
- Expand your network – if there is no-one in your sphere to consider, then your sphere is too small. Work out ways to make friends. Join a sports team, or book club, or craft crew, or a gym, or a walking club, or a trivia team, or a chess club, or enrol in a short course … (I think you get the idea!). Volunteer your expertise to help in some way – at Westcare, at a legal advice centre, help out in a City Light ministry, first aid centre, etc. You don’t have to do this alone – grab someone from 5pm and take them with you.
- Be an interested mate – once you have people in mind, then do your research on them. Find ways to ask them about what they are interested in, what makes them tick, how they think about the world, what and who they care most about.
- Intentional invitations – invite those you are getting to know to things that you and they might enjoy. Ask them to dinner, to the pub, to some sports event, for a walk, to do some fitness, to some amazing café (i.e. Jones the Grocer!) – and when you invite them, invite others from 5pm Church as well. Help your friends meet other Christians.
- Continue to pray – for them and for your efforts to introduce them to Jesus.
What is the goal here? – Hopefully to save others.
But note – being a friend and enjoying the social, will not save the person! They are saved when they hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus. All I have suggested above may help the person cross the gap and bit by bit break down some of the obstacles to Jesus. And when the opportunities or the conversations present themselves – make the most of the moment and ensure that the reason for the hope you have is Jesus. The risk is worth it!
I hear there is a good church which meets at 5pm every Sunday which they might then be open too as well!