As we are about to embark on our journey into a new year, it is important not so much to evaluate where we have been but where we are today and where we sense God calling us to invest our live tomorrow (Phil. 3:13-14). As a church we want to be about “TURNING ORDINARY PEOPLE INTO EXTRAORDINARY FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST”. For this mission statement to be realized, the first step we need to take is to be proactively looking for opportunities to share our faith. We all face what I call the “centripetal pull” of the church. That force that operates in most believers lives that pulls them towards other believers and isolates them from the world- the holy huddle mentality. Fellowship is good and it is commanded in the Scripture (Heb. 10:24-25) yet we dare not forget that God is calling us to reach out and love the lost (Luke 19:10). This is what I call the “centrifugal pull” of the great commission (Mt. 28:18-20). The church needs to be an oscillating system that builds people up and equips them for ministry (the centripetal pull) only to fling them out into the world to seek and share with the lost (the centrifugal pull). For most of us the centripetal pull is stronger than the centrifugal pull. Here are some ideas that will place us in the centrifuge and launch us out to make an eternal impact for the Lord:
*Ask God to guide you into new relationships with unchurched people and to help you deepen the ones you already have
*Pray for these friends by name, asking God to open them up to His love and truth, and to empower and use you in the process.
*Ask a non-Christian friend to join you for lunch, or invite them to come to your home for a dinner or dessert.
*Write a letter of encouragement to someone in your life who is going through a difficult time and doesn’t yet know Christ.
*Make a call to an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time and catch up with what’s new in your lives
*Go out of your way this week to meet someone in the office, school, or neighborhood with whom you have not yet had the chance to talk.
*Make a “top-ten” list of non-Christians that you will consistently pray for and reach out to.
*Follow up with someone with whom you have talked about Christianity some time ago. See where they are in their spiritual journey and how you might be able to help them take the next step toward Jesus.
*Read John 4 and ask the Lord for opportunities to raise spiritual topics in ordinary conversation.
*Ask God to show you what spiritual risks he wants you to take today.
*Study up on the faith related issues you think a friend is most concerned about and look for opportunities to talk about them.
*Pass along a Christian book or tape that has been especially helpful to you which your friend would also be able to relate to.
*Read Luke 15 and spend some time reflecting on how God views those outside of his family. Ask God to give you His heart for the lost.
*Meet with a couple of friends and pray together for people you are trying to reach.
*Write down and share your personal testimony with someone that you have had a spiritual conversation with.
*Bring a friend to an appropriate outreach event.
*Join a club or participate in an activity that will provide you with an opportunity to develop relationships with non-Christians.
These are just a few suggestions that believers have found helpful in increasing the centrifugal force of the great commission in their lives. As we enter into a new year, may we as a body strive to maintain God’s balance between the centripetal and centrifugal forces of the church.
(Some ideas taken from Mission Today, Fall 1999)