The first thing Andrew did after becoming a disciple was to find his brother Simon and tell him about the Messiah, and the first thing Philip did after becoming a disciple was to invite his friend Nathanael to meet Jesus (John 1:40-46). We know that we’re supposed to do the same thing, to bring people to Jesus. But maybe we’ve run out of people. We have already taught or tried to teach all our relatives and friends.
Sadly, many Christians withdraw into a cocoon of fellowship with the church. Love for God’s people is a beautiful thing, but failing to make friends among outsiders leads to an evangelism train wreck. So how do we make friends in our community?
Go Places. Go to school ball games, plays, and concerts. Go to charity events. If someone organizes a fund raiser for a child with cancer, go buy a plate of barbecue and join the crowd. Serve your community as a volunteer, and rub shoulders with other people doing the same thing.
Remember Names. Whenever you meet someone, make a mental note of his or her name. As soon as possible, write the name down in a digital contact list or on paper. Add as many details about the person as you can. Regularly read over your list of new acquaintances so that the names will stick.
Show Compassion. Go to funeral visitations and services – and not just for close friends and relatives. Be there for people you don’t know very well. They’ll never forget your kindness.
Give Gifts. Bake cookies and give them away. Cook a meal and deliver it to a distressed family. Buy a coat for a needy child.
Entertain People. Invite them into your home. Take them to a restaurant. Think how many friends the church would have if every new Sunday morning visitor was invited out to lunch.
In other words, the things you habitually do for your brothers and sisters in the church – do them for outsiders. And when acquaintances become friends, bring them to Jesus!