In our ministry, if we truly believe the gospel, then our compassion should be contagious. People should see our lives, be curious and want to lean in and ask about the hope we have.
1 Be present.
I’m often with people who have just experienced the worst, most painful moments of their lives. In these difficult moments, what an honor it is to simply be present and to invite Jesus to use me.
2 Share stories.
In the same way that sharing stories about your own life builds intimacy and trust, if someone has never met Jesus, stories about Him invite others into friendship with Him. Thirty seconds of your favorite Jesus story can be so much more impactful than suggesting a book on doctrine or talking about the “do’s and don’ts.” Ask Jesus-like questions like, “What feels hard today?” and, “What do you need?” Help your new friends experience the characteristics of Christ before they even hear His name.
3 Learn about other cultures.
Commit the time and energy necessary to learn about other people’s customs and beliefs. Do the research required for you to be in tune with others and their stories. Ask kind questions based on genuine interest instead of crafting an apologetic in your head as they’re speaking.
4 Build authentic friendships.
Invest in real relationships and relational equity so that spiritual conversations don’t feel forced. People aren’t projects, even if they do have real physical needs. They’re made in God’s image and worthy of connection and friendship. Don’t be on a timeline. Be patient, pray for those moments, foster them with care when they happen and just be a real friend.
5 Define your terms.
For most of the world, Christianity is equated with America, and the only things they know about America is what’s in movies. When speaking with internationals, I often tell them I am a follower of Jesus. If I can get on the same page with what they mean by Christian and what I mean by, “I follow Jesus,” it can save me from being written off. Don’t be afraid to share about your spiritual practices and listen to theirs with lots of curiosity. That will open the door to share the gospel
Find ways your church can implement compassion ministry at courses.SendRelief.org.
Published January 22, 2024