3 Practical Ways We Can Reach the Lost in 2016
They came in a small “info-graphic” to my cell phone.
When I first saw them, I thought I was reading them wrong.
Here’s the graphic from Barna.org:
These numbers show that 44% of Americans surveyed consider themselves to be “post-Christian” or “non-religious” or “irreligious.”
In 2013, only 37% of Americans fit into this post-Christian thinking. Now, two years later, the number has grown by 5%.
To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals had to meet 60% or more of the following factors (nine or more). “Highly post-Christian” individuals meet 80% or more of the factors (12 or more of these 15 criteria). (Info from Barna.org)
- Do not believe in God
- Identify as atheist or agnostic
- Disagree that faith is important in their lives
- Have not prayed to God (in the last year)
- Have never made a commitment to Jesus
- Disagree the Bible is accurate
- Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
- Have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)
- Agree that Jesus committed sins
- Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
- Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
- Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
- Or, have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
- Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
- Do not participate in a house church (in the last year)
The trend is real.
People are less interested in spiritual things. People are leaving our churches. Indeed, people are not as open to the gospel.
So, what can we do?
How can we make a difference?
Indeed, how can we combat this trend?
As believers–concerned about our culture–I believe we can do 3 things to begin to reach those around us:
1} Get the main things in the right order.
Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ And, the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31, NIV
First – Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and body.
Totally and completely seek the Lord as you never have before. Draw up close to Him; spend more time with Him.
- Get into the Bible as you never have before. Read it. Think about it. Memorize it.
- Pray as you never have before. You learn to pray by praying. So, pray more, and become more proficient at praying.
- Read books that will draw you closer to the Lord.
- Listen to radio and podcasts that will deepen your relationship with Him.
Second – Love yourself.
Get okay in your own skin. You are God’s original design and amazing creation. He made you well and wants you to realize that.
In Psalm 139, King David puts it this way, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”
It’s really pretty simple: when we understand how loved we are by God, we can reach out and love others. Knowing how precious I am to the Creator of this universe, I can reach out with confidence to those around me.
Third – Love other people.
Ask God to give you love for others. Pray for them. Reach out in kindness to them.
- Treat other people as you wish to be treated.
- Give to others what you need.
- Invite, include, care, and show affection for others.
- Intentionally and unselfishly, reach out in love.
2} Get our hearts in the right place.
What if you and I got up every morning in 2016, and prayed a prayer like this one:
“Lord, I’m willing to be used by You today.
Show me where to go, who to talk to, who to reach out to, how to serve, and lead me anywhere You want me to go today.
Truly, I will follow. I will obey. Direct me.”
3} Get out there!
Often, the greatest victories are won by taking that first step and by showing up. To reach others for Christ, we must get out there.
It may be as simple as striking up a conversation at the coffee shop or talking to the checker at the grocery. We may begin a conversation with a co-worker or reach out to a new neighbor.
During the holidays, one of my good friends said the most interesting thing as we were talking about witnessing.
“Really, I guess I don’t care as much about ‘the lost’ as much as I used to… because if I cared, I would get up, go out there, and talk to my neighbors.”
What if you and I cared enough to get up, go out there, and talk to our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family?
Maybe this post-Christian trend could be reversed (Or, at least, slowed down)!
Does America become post-Christian?
Why are we drifting away from the Lord?
What can we do to reverse it the trends?
In what ways are you, your family, and your church making a difference?
I always enjoy hearing from you!
**And, would you do me a favor — if this article has encouraged you today — would you share it with someone else?
© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.