Sounds of laughter echoed the tall ceilings of the student center at First Baptist Church of Russellville, Arkansas, as over a hundred young adults gathered at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention 2017 Annual Meeting. These young pastors, church leaders and believers met together for a luncheon and Young Leaders Panel Monday, Nov. 6.
The Young Leaders Panel focused on cross-cultural engagement among believers and un-believers and how to ultimately reach people who may not be like you. Jamar Andrews, Jamie Naramore, Steven Bell and Brad Lewter were on the panel led by Dave McClung and discussed the following ways we can better daily interact with people from the various cultural backgrounds.
1. Explain the gospel.
Members of the panel discussed how a primary concern in our churches is that people don’t understand the gospel. Not only do they not understand how it impacts their lives, but they also don’t understand the importance and diligence of sharing the good news.
2. Embrace people.
No matter their age, gender, socio-economic status or religion, Christians should be willing to embrace those who are not like them. Believers are called to reflect God. Jesus loves even the least of these and wants us all to have a relationship with Him. The church should be willing to step out of their comfort zone and interact with all of God’s creation.
After we embrace people, we need to learn to spend time with them and develop relationships with them. Whether that be purposefully eating at an ethnic restaurant to develop relationships with people of different backgrounds or walking inside to pay for your gas just to meet a new person, take time out of your day to meet new people and build a friendship with them. Let them know you are willing to listen and willing to answer questions they might have about Jesus or life in general. Be present in the lives of other people.
4. Lead by Example.
If we are trying to lead people to the Lord and show them what living a Godly life looks like, we must let our lives be an example to others. People must see Jesus through us.
5. Extend beyond barriers.
As Christians, we must take down all our walls and do what God has called us to do. God has called us to reach everyone we can with the Gospel. We can’t just focus on people who look or act like us. We must reach out to those who are different from us and love them the same way, because Jesus loves them just as much as He loves us.
With these thoughts in mind we are now called to go out and do these things with boldness, having a passion for the Gospel and sharing it with everyone.