The Outward Life Moves Toward People

When we choose to live outwardly for the sake of the Gospel, it means that we are looking for ways to move into relationship with people around us who do not know Christ. For some people this just happens naturally. They don’t have to give much thought or effort to it. Their natural personality moves easily into new relationships.

But for others, like myself, it is requires work. It requires making a plan. For both my wife and I seeking out relationships with those who do not know Christ requires intentionally making it happen. It would not necessarily happen in the natural flow of our life and personality. And so these are some things we have been doing as we look to build relationships with people around us.

  1. We regularly walk our neighborhood. If we are going to meet people in our neighborhood, we need to be in our neighborhood. Simply having a home in the neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to meet people. But when we regularly walk through our neighborhood there are those opportunities to get to know to people. And we try to walk with intention as we ask God to give us someone to talk to, encourage, pray with or share the Gospel with. We have had opportunities to pray with people, invite people to our neighborhood bible study and simply build relationships with our neighbors. Many times our walks are just walks but other times God does bring people into our lives. Where do you have a natural activity like walking that gives the opportunity for God to bring people into your life?
  2. My wife and kids deliver goodies during holiday seasons. During Fall and Christmas and early Spring my wife and kids will deliver fun treats to other neighbors. It is just a way of giving a fun treat to those around us and letting them we know appreciate them. These gifts also give my wife an opportunity to provide a small note of encouragement. One of my wife’s strengths is note or letter writing and allows her to use this gift with our neighbors. This may be a small act but we use it as a family to continue to build relationships with the people around us.
  3. We host an annual ice cream gathering. For the last three years my family as hosted ‘Ice Cream in the Neighborhood” where we invite neigbors to enjoy some ice cream treats like ice cream sandwhiches or nutty buddys. We normally get 30-40 people who will come. And it is a great way to better get to know our neighbors. This is an an activity that builds on the neighorbood walks and holiday treats. And it gives us an opportunity spend more time getting to know people. This one certainly takes more time and effort but these are good one-time acts that allows us to get to know those around us.
  4. We pray to meet new people. The most important thing we do is we pray that God would give us opportunities. This does a couple things. 1) We are acknowledging that God is the one who will bring people to us. And 2) it keep us moving focused outward. When you are praying for opportunities you tend to see opportunities. And as we regularly pray we begin to look at every opportunity as an opportunity. As we go to the park, as we go out to eat, as we are involved in family or school activites, these are all opportunities that God may bring new relationships to us. We are developing a “pray without ceasing” mindset when we begin to go into every situation praying for an opportunity for God to use us.

These are not huge things but they keep us moving toward people around us. It can be so easy for us to stay inward. It can be so easy for us simply be focused on our own family or church family. And if we are going to be living outwardly then we have to find those ways to move toward people around us. For others it may be easy, for us it requires being more purposeful. But the Great Commission wasn’t just given to the extraverts but to the introverts. It was given to all personalities.

And so for the sake of Christ, we move to the people with His power and His strength.

What ideas do you have for building relationship with people around you?