I don't know about you, but when I think about witnessing to people, I get a little nervous! I wonder how they'll respond to me, to my knocking on their door (if we're going door-to-door in a neighborhood), to my speaking about religion or faith at all, or, of all crazy things, how they'll respond to my southern accent! When all is said and done, though, what matters is that we are reaching people with the Gospel, and sometimes we can find some creative ways to do that. Today I want to share with you some ideas for reaching out to people that don't take a lot of courage, but might have a big spiritual impact on someone's life in the long run. You might not find all of them appealing, but hopefully something will strike a chord that makes you say, "Hey, I could do that!"
:: Hand someone a Gospel tract. You're probably thinking that's the oldest and most basic form of witnessing around. And it might be. But it also might be the most effective. The person you give a tract to might throw it away, sure; but she might also slip it in her purse or lay it on her counter or use it as a bookmark in her current read. And you just don't know when life will bring tract before her again and something will convince her to read it. I've heard several accounts of people tucking a tract away and coming across it again at a time when they needed something - they just didn't know what that something was - and being saved as a result. You never know. And you can do this everywhere - at the grocery store, the gas station, the post office, your own front door when someone knocks, in an elevator (they can't get away! LOL), at the bus stop, on the curb while you wait for traffic on your walk, at the park, at the gym, at a restaurant, in a public restroom (I did that once in Ft. Worth. I spoke just enough Spanish to say, "Come to my church," and the Hispanic lady thought I could speak fluently. Awkward!) . . . these opportunities are endless.
:: Talk to people. For some people, that does take a lot of courage. But most of us engage in chit chat in grocery store lines, at the library, at the post office, at the park . . . I've met very few people who won't respond to a comment about the weather! Just start up a little chat and see where it goes. For me, this is an easy one when I'm out and about. My favorite place chat is in the grocery store line. My accent gets things rolling, usually! ;) And then they ask where I'm from and how we came to be here . . . and then I can give them a little tract from our church and invite them to visit sometime! I've been friendly, they will know a familiar face - or accent - if they visit the church, and most importantly, the Gospel is in their hand.
:: Engage in a random act of kindness. You've heard of RAKs: someone pays for the order of the person behind them at the drive-thru or some other such kindness. If you do something like this, include a tract from your church. Receiving a tract may mean a lot more when it's accompanied by an anonymous act of kindness than it will if you just tried to give them one. Be prepared for some suspicion, though, if you're doing this in person, as opposed to doing it at the drive-thru; we've tried giving away candy canes at Christmas with a tract attached, and people have actually refused a candy cane!
:: Make your neighbor something nice to eat and deliver it to her door. If you like to bake (and are good at it!), why not make a treat for your neighbor and deliver it to her? This is nice to do around Christmas, but it would also be effective throughout the year. Just say something like, "I made some bread today and thought you might like a loaf of fresh homemade bread." You can include a tract if you like, but I think it's just as important to build a relationship initially. Begin by showing kindness to her with no strings attached. As you build the friendship, she will begin to see a difference in your life, and hopefully witnessing opportunities will arise from simple day-to-day interaction.
:: Invite someone over for a meal or dessert. This one is a little more in-depth and may take a little more planning, but hospitality is becoming a lost art. Just the simple act of inviting someone over for a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll (even if you buy it at the grocery store!) may speak volumes to her. Invite a visitor for Sunday afternoon dinner when they visit your church. Invite some singles over for sandwiches and chips after church on Sunday night. Invite a family over to play board games on a Friday night. Maybe you and your husband could invite one of his co-workers over for a meal. If you work, invite a co-worker out for lunch with you. There are endless ways to show hospitality to those around us!
I hope these suggestions have sparked some ideas and excitement for ways you can reach out to those around you. I'll be back later with some other ideas that are a little more involved, but which are very doable if you just give them a try!
What are some simple ways you have reached out to others?
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