When we try leading a stranger to Christ, it can seem awkward at first. Do you feel like this may come across as forced or inauthentic? Can you become a good friend in the process?
I was in my second year in college when I took my walk with Christ seriously, and along with it came the desire to share the gospel to someone else. I still remember clearly the first time I sat down to share about salvation with someone who I just met in the youth service.
I didn’t know how to start. At the back of my mind, I felt uncomfortable. I wouldn’t have been trying to start a friendship with this person if not for leading her to Christ. Was I being inauthentic? Am I just talking to this person so I can share the gospel? Shouldn’t I be at least good friends with someone before I attempt to lead them to Christ? These were questions I struggled with, and maybe they’re the same questions that you have.
Here are some reminders about friendship and discipleship that may answer our questions.
If you think about it, all friendships start out random and awkward. You just happened to be in the same school, or the same sports team, or the same street.
The desire to make friends is part of our wiring. We want friends because we were designed to be in relationships. We all yearn to be part of a community.
This is something we need to keep in mind when we’re starting to lead someone to Christ—that person needs true friends and an authentic community. And there is nowhere better to find that than in the church.
Helping someone in their walk with God is actually the purest motive we can have in starting friendships. What are some of the usual reasons we have? We don’t want to be alone. We want to build connections with the influential. We want to form a club of like-minded people. They’re not bad, but they simply show that our usual reasons are something we can benefit from.
When we lead someone to Christ, it can only be good for them, because they can find the love, acceptance, and security that they are looking for. If we believe that the gospel is the answer to our deepest need, then sharing it to someone is being a good friend.
Being a messenger of the gospel also makes us inclusive.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view…And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.2 Corinthians 5:16,18 (NLT)
Usually, I would evaluate potential friends based on their personality and interests. But when I experienced unconditional love and acceptance from God, my perspective changed. I became more open to building friendships with people who were very different from me. I started to want the best for the friends I already had. I can’t count the number of lifelong friendships I would have otherwise missed if I did not become a follower of Christ, committed to reconciling others to Him.
People need the healing and transforming power of the gospel. People need true friends in an authentic community. So, keep being a good friend that leads others to Christ, dear Christian. People need friends like you.
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