Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John
had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his
brother Simon and tell him, 'We have found the Messiah' (that is the Christ).
And he brought him to Jesus (John 1:40-42, NIV).
One of the most potentially rewarding, and potentially challeng-ing,
opportunities in a lifetime is to share Christ with those closest to us. Early
in our marriage, Cheryl and I decided we needed to share Christ with a family
member with whom we did not have regular, consistent communication.
On his birthday, we found a great card at a Christian bookstore. The front
read, "This year we're going to give to you the best present anyone could
possibly receive ..." As you opened it, it read, "we're going to pray for you!"
We wrote a personal note inside and included a Four Spiritual Laws tract.
We just knew it would have great impact because, after all, we had prayed
over the card before we sent it. Imagine the shock when the response to the
card and tract was anything but positive! We were told that we were arrogant to
convey that we felt the family member was "bad enough" that he needed our
prayer. In no uncertain terms he made clear he didn't want to hear that kind of
thing again. What we held as faith was not what he wanted.
We learned several lessons from the experience ...
Match the approach to the person's temperament and personality.
Try not to come across as "speaking down" to the person.
Sharing Christ is always most effective with those close to us when based on
a strong, positive relationship of interest and caring characterized by regular
So having learned these lessons (maybe the hard way), how do we reach out to
share the message of Christ with those closest to us? Some guidelines from the
"owner's manual" (the Bible) may be helpful here.
First, take note of Jesus' mission statement. He very clearly stated the
reason He came. The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost (Luke
19:10, NIV). In turn, He tells each of us, As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you (John 20: 21, NIV).
Second, a base of prayer is critical before ever approaching someone we care
about with the message of Christ. James reminds us that, the prayer of a
righteous man [or woman] is powerful and effective (James 5:16,
NIV). And God adds wonderful security when in Jeremiah 33:3 He says,
Call to Me and I will answer you(NIV, emphasis
Be prepared to share specifically in a personal and warm manner the impact
Jesus Christ has made in your life. Look for those "open moments" when it becomes clear that
what you would share is appropriate and applicable to the person and
Third, if God is working in your life, He is also working at the other end,
in the life of the person with whom you will share. When Andrew went to Peter,
God evidently had already been preparing Peter's heart to be receptive (John
Be sure that your life is marked by a biblically consistent character in
action and attitude, as well as a warm interest and love that is regularly
spread to the one for whom you are praying for the opportunity to share Christ.
None of us is perfect, but if our words say one thing, and our actions and
attitudes say another, people will not "hear" our witness.
Also remember that we are not responsible for producing believers. It is our
job simply to take the initiative to share Christ with the power of the Holy
Spirit in our lives-and then leave the results in God's hands. Only God can
change a life from the inside out. Be patient. God's timetable may not be ours.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 that God uses some people to plant the seed of
the gospel, others to water it, but only God can make it grow.
Whatever role you play, be sure to celebrate the fact that God allowed you
be a part of the changing of a life!
Bob Reccord is president of the North American Mission Board,
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC