I have worked outside our home and church for a large portion of our married life. And except for four years with Focus on the Family and three teaching in a Christian school, it has always been in the secular workplace. If you work in a secular workplace, you too may experience the same ambivalent feelings that I did for many years. My place of choice would always have been safe inside the walls of the church I love, but since circumstances forced me out there I longed to share God’s love with the unbelievers I met every day. Unfortunately, the only method I knew was to invite them to church.
I have this mental picture of me leaning out from the safe walls of my church building/life, waving to everyone, “I have Good News for you!” Is it any wonder nobody ever accepted my invitation?
I continued in my sincere desire to share God’s love, with the same fruitless results, until I learned to build relationships. I began to invest my life in the people I met. I had compartmentalized my life — This is me 40 hours a week with my co-workers, versus This is me after work with my family and my church. I hadn’t realized the two worlds could co-mingle. It took me a long time to realize I would never influence anyone for God’s Kingdom with my us/them mentality. That is why God commanded, “Go into the entire world and make disciples…” “Go into the highway and byways and compel them to come in.”
Because we invest so much of our time and resources into a church building or a church program, we have a hard time wrapping our brains around the truth that there isn’t anything intrincisally spiritual about them. Their only value is the truth of the message and the people who carry them.
As a pastor’s wife we are often happy living in our safe environment. We know church people. We understand them. For all their dysfunction, they are safe. But even pastors’ wives are called to the Great Commission, and most of us hide inside our churches, consumed with caring for the flock.
I challenge you to build one relationship with an unbeliever. It will be good for you, it may have eternal changes for them. My husband’s focus for years has been to train our people to recognize
that each person has a circle of influence –a group of people only they can influence for God.
Open your eyes. Ask God to point you to someone with whom you need to build a relationship. Remember these small important points:
1. Relationships take time. You will spend lots of hours with them without preaching. As
St. Francis said “Preach the word at all time, if necessary use words.”
2. This relationship is not an evangelistic campaign, i.e: attack and conquer, take a long view
and realize you’re in it for the long haul.
3. Enjoy yourself. This person will be a friend for life.
4. If you’re not sure where to start, look next door. Most of us have unsaved neighbors.
Scout out the coffee shop you frequent, the PTA, or the soccer mom on your kid’s team.
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