W.W.J.D. Everyone knows the saying–What Would Jesus Do?
Would Jesus merely share the Good News of salvation, or would He develop deep relationships with lost people?
The answer is He did both and so should we. There are times when Jesus spoke life to a stranger on the streets never to see him/her again, but He also intentionally built relationships with young believers and non-believers to pour into them by simply living life with them.
“If we do not intentionally build relationships with non-Christians, it becomes very difficult to fulfill the Great Commission,” said Bellevue member and discipleship leader, Rick Jones. “In our post-modern world, building friendships with non-Christians becomes an effective way to speak truth into the lives of others. By building friendships, we gain the privilege of speaking the truth of the Gospel into their lives.”
And that is exactly what Rick did when he met Teddy. He first discipled him, and then after about two years of walking through a formal discipleship process with him, they continued to meet up as friends.
“Seeing how intentional Rick was in developing a friendship with me made me think of how Jesus became a friend of His disciples,” Teddy said. “The 12 disciples were His followers, but they were also His friends. Rick has allowed me to truly be myself and has become my friend by taking the time to truly get to know me.”
It’s not always easy making friends in our post-modern culture. And sometimes it may take years of being someone’s friend before you see them come to Jesus.
“It needs to be said that we should not turn people into ‚ÄòGospel projects,'” Rick said.
“A ‚ÄòGospel project’ is when you befriend a person for the sole reason to share the Gospel with them, but don’t give much consideration to them as an image bearer of God,” Rick explained. “If I befriend someone, share the Gospel with them, and they reject Christ, will I still be their friend? God did not call us to jump from ‚ÄòGospel project’ to ‚ÄòGospel project.’ He called us to combine the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.”
According to Teddy, Rick is a true example of that combination–he Loves God and Loves People while also making disciples of all nations. “Rick embodies what it looks like to leave the 99 and find that one lost sheep,” Teddy said. “I was lost, roaming in the wilderness, not knowing where to go, not knowing who to turn to for help when Rick came along, started talking with me, and initiated a friendship that will last forever.”
To read part one of Rick and Teddy’s story, visit bellevue.org/blog.
For more information on evangelism and discipleship, contact Bill Street, Pastor of Evangelism, Discipleship, and Prayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.