~~There are more lost people than saved people in Arkansas. It is estimated that 57% of the population in Arkansas is lost. Chances are if you’re reading this article and you’re from Arkansas, then you personally know a family member who is lost. Should the preacher or church in their community reach out to them with the gospel? Of course they should, but perhaps God wants to use someone closer to them to reach them, maybe even you? I pray that God will guide you to reach your lost family member(s) by applying some of the following principles.
• Give Up: Give up trying to strong arm someone and guilt them into heaven. Instead get on your knees and fervently pray for their salvation. It is your responsibility to share the gospel and it is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to draw them into a saving relationship with Christ. (John 15:7; John 16:8; James 5:13-20)
• Drink a Cup of Coffee: Spend some casual time at a coffee shop or some other neutral environment nurturing and building a relationship with them. Learn to ask open ended questions that help them to ponder their relationship with Christ. (John 4:1-26)
• Throw a Party: Invite them over to your house for meals or holidays. It is more work for you to host the meal or the holiday time, but you do have more control over what happens or does not happen in your home. (Matthew 9:9-13)
• Remove the shades: Let them see the real you. Don’t try to pretend to be something you are not. Allow them to see that you are not perfect and that you struggle with things also. (Luke 19:1-10)
• Think Smaller: If they have children, then develop a relationship with them also. Offer to take their children to church or other special activities. Some parents will be more open to the gospel as they see their children changed by the gospel. (Matthew 19:13-15)
• Play Hide and Seek: Make sure you spend time alone with God seeking Him and growing in your own personal walk with Him. The best testimony to an unbelieving family member is a transformed life. (Matthew 6:33; John 15:5)
• Study for the test: Work on memorizing a gospel presentation along with your testimony so that when the right opportunity arises for an impromptu test of sharing your faith, then you will be ready. Learn to share your testimony and the gospel without using traditional churchy words. (1 Peter 3:15) (Romans Road: Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10) (One Verse Method)
• Shine their shoes: Look for opportunities to meet their needs and to serve them, even in the smallest endeavors. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Ministering to people especially in times of a crisis will help you to earn a hearing. (Mark 10:35-45; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-9)
God has consistently been involved in saving households and families for many generations (Acts 16:11-40). Could it be that God has placed you in this family situation so that God can work through you to reach out to family members with love and concern so that more of them would go to heaven and fewer family members would go to hell? God works through His people to accomplish His purposes. Will you allow Him to work through you to reach your lost family members?
Ben Phillips serves on the Church Health Team for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and can be reached at 501.376.4791 or by email at email@example.com.