redemptive relationships

A friend once told me he became a Christian during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Fear sent him down the aisle.

What brought you to Christ?

Maybe you became a Christian because someone sitting beside you on an airplane explained the good news to you. A few of you might even be like my friend Ken. A native of New Zealand, he came to Christ as a result of a door-knocking campaign conducted by students from a state-side Christian college. If you became a disciple of Jesus through means similar to these examples, praise God! My experience was very different, however.

For me, it was the love and nurture of my parents and two caring Sunday school teachers. Years later, at a time when I needed encouragement, confidence, and an intentional discipling relationship, the Lord sent Bob. Bob invited me and two others to join him in a weekly discipleship experience that led to my growth and desire to duplicate the same in others.

Do you envision sharing your faith as something akin to selling used cars? If so, you’ve probably bought into a common but faulty discipling paradigm. A more natural approach involves having redemptive conversations, building redemptive friendships, and living in redemptive community. Living redemptively is the “Jesus style”.

Living redemptively means being intentionally focused on “being Jesus” to people.
If we’re the aroma of Christ (II Corinthians 2:15) people have to catch his scent on us. This means getting close enough that they know we care. Knowledge of the word is obviously important, but knowledge alone won’t get the job done! Building life-giving relationships is often the key that opens the door of opportunity.

Jesus paid attention to those around him. He had dinner with people. He made it a point to listen and be involved. Jesus was aware of lonelinessand suffering. He was a friend to sinners. Their hurts hurt him. He was compassionate and patient, treating people in a way that exclaimed, “You matter!” His authenticity made him approachable – likable.

We’ve made disciple making too complicated. Investing in another person’s life may not be convenient, but the process is as simple as meeting someone for coffee and building a relationship with them. Living as an intentional disciple of Jesus demands “getting the salt out of the salt shaker” and becoming a savoring influence in lives. Offering intimate relationship to people makes a difference! It’s the stuff of disciple making.