Hope for Living: Relationship is key to winning souls

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Rich Bailey is pastor of Curry’s Chapel Church.

We are living in some of the most volatile times in recent history. The ongoing tensions that are pressing on society today are causing many to re-evaluate their lives and search for answers beyond themselves.

The hunger for spiritual encounters is on the rise. It is in these opportunistic times that followers of Jesus must recognize this divine moment and our role in bringing the Good News to a world in desperate need of Jesus.

Jesus Himself understood the necessity of sharing the good news of the Gospel. In Luke 19:10 Jesus declares, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Jesus spent about 66% of His time with people who were far from God. In nearly His last breath He gave us instruction in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Sadly, many have heard this command to GO and share the Good News, but most have chosen to ignore or downplay the command. We were told simply to GO, not go if it fits into your schedule. We were not told this command was given to missionaries and preachers only, but the command is to all believers to GO.

I encourage all who read this to accept and follow this command as a command and act to fulfill your directive to share the Good News with everyone. The rub, however, is how do we do this. According to Visitor Reach, prior to COVID-19 it would take an average of 3-7 interactions with someone to reach them for God. Since COVID this has changed drastically to 55-70 interactions. Further, we know that only 2% of people come to the saving grace by a single random contact. But 86% of people who come to that saving grace do so via a relationship.

So, what do those statistics mean to us as we seek to fulfill the command to share the Gospel? Well, simply put it takes our investment into the lives of people for the long haul. In other words, we must build meaningful relationships with people to bring them to the point of salvation. Many of us live life consumed by ourselves and our own needs. To fulfil the command from Mark 16:15, we must begin to live our lives for others. This is exactly what Jesus did, and as His disciples we need to follow his example.

In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus taught that true greatness comes from serving others, not exercising authority over them. As we serve others, then, we mirror the example of Jesus. To borrow a phrase from the grassroots movement of 1990s youth groups: “What would Jesus do?”

“WWJD?” is what we need to keep in mind as we look to save the lost for God. Ask yourself every time you act: “What would Jesus do?” In so doing, you will be able to see the larger view and the long game in building relationships. Paul puts it well in 1 Thessalonians 2:8: “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.”

As is my habit for these columns, I end simply with: Will I see you in church this Sunday?

Rich Bailey is pastor of Curry’s Chapel Church. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.