Thursday, May 09, 2013

7 steps to share Christ with a Unitarian Universalist

One of our attenders at CVC is a missionary cleverly disguised as a businessman. One of his manufacturer’s reps was in his office on Monday to discuss a very complex audio conferencing system that he's integrating for a customer. When they were finished with business, the conversation turned to tech, family, hobbies, and… faith.

His company's rep attends a Universal Unitarian church, which is the epitome of tolerance. They ended up having a great discussion about God, Jesus, science, creation… It just blew the CVCer's mind that he was talking to this guy the very day after a message at CVC in our Religious Myths series on the topic of tolerance.

He wants to discuss how he can share Christ in effective ways with his Unitarian Universalist friend. He really wants to be able to show Christ’s love for people, respect their views, but successfully lead them to Jesus.

I sent him some ideas to help. Maybe the ideas might help you reach a friend - even if he/she isn't a Unitarian Universalist.

7 steps to share Christ with a Unitarian Universalist

1) Pray. 

I would encourage you to pray daily for your Unitarian Universalist friend. "Speak to God about men before you speak to men about God." You can use II Timothy 2:24 as a basis for prayer.

2) Befriend. 

Set up some offsite social time to build a friendship with him. What does he like to do? Play tennis? Hike? Play golf? Ride a bike? Find some common ground. Paul said, "I become all things to all men so that I might win some." In this stage of the relationship, you are seeking to build a bridge over which you can one day carry the gospel.

3) Learn.

Ask a lot of questions about his life and his world view. Try to understand his story. Don't react to every non-biblical statement he makes. Don't make your relationship a debate. He already knows you are a Christian, right? Find common ground. Surprise him with your focus on your relationship with Jesus, not on the rules of religion. He's probably expecting a debate. Surprise him by not giving him one. Don't take the bait from him if he is itching for a debate. Answer questions he asks very simply and directly, but then turn it right back onto him with another question about him.

4) Think.

Reflect on his beliefs to understand why he came to see the world and God the way he does. Read a good theology (Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology) and a good book on apologetics (Tim Keller's The Reason for God) so you can see where and how his world view is faulty. Equip yourself to be ready to give and answer for the hope that is in you (I Peter 3:15). This will give you even more fuel to pray for him.

5) Share. 

Share your story. People can debate doctrine. But they can't debate your experience. If he's a true relativist, then he should say, "I'm glad that truth works for you, Matt." Make sure Jesus, not religion, is the hero of your story!

6) Tell.

When the Spirit gives you the green light, tell His story. Keeping in mind all you have learned about your friend's worldview, tell the simple gospel and answer his objections as you speak about Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restoration. Show that Jesus is the One who restores the broken, answers his questions, frees from guilt, grants forgiveness, demonstrates perfect love as well as justice, and gives us supernatural power. Keep the conversation focused on the cross and resurrection. He must answer Jesus' question: "Who do you say that I am?" The response, "A great teacher and moral leader" isn't an option as the "trilema" (made famous by C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell) teaches. Jesus is either liar, Lord, or lunatic.

7) Stay. 

Stay in relationship. Keep praying. Be patient. This is likely going to be a long process. He needs to see you living a genuine Christian life over the long haul. He's probably never seen that. He needs to see you apply biblical truth in your own struggles and pain. He needs to see your generosity, sacrifice, and service. He needs to see you on mission. He needs to see you loving your family. Be there when something falls apart in his life. When he hits a wall and you are there in loving relationship, then your words as well as your deeds will be used by the Spirit with power.

Let's be excited about the possibility of God using us in the adventure of seeking to reach our friends for Christ!

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