As a pastor, I have to work hard to be around non-Christians consistently. A large majority of my friends are Christians. When I go to work, as a pastor, I am around Christians all day, every day.
In order to be around lost people, I have to be really intentional. Otherwise, I’d be out of touch and not evangelize to the best of my abilities. If you’re in a similar boat, allow me to give you some ideas to overcome the problem.
Work out of a coffee shop for several hours every week.
I told the entire church that I’m doing this, and they seemed to like the idea. Working around other people, from completely different walks of life and in different fields of vocation has been really healthy for me.
One example of a conversation I had with someone is a guy who helps lead a start-up based out of Chattanooga. He is in the tech field, and I love tech, so we struck up a fascinating conversation about a (non-Christian) book he and I have both read, pertaining to tech (The Second Machine Age). I’ve seen him in the coffee shop several times, and have given him an invite card to our church. I could tell he had never been to church before.
Find a hobby that is outside of the Christian cocoon.
Golf is one of my hobbies. I know the guys who are regulars at my golf club. Several of them have come to Church of the Highlands over the last few years just from us talking together in the clubhouse or around the putting green.
Intentionally talk to people and build relationships at your kids’ extracurricular activities.
My oldest daughter took swim lessons last year. My wife and I purposefully struck up conversations with fellow parents while the kids were swimming, and we developed a friendship with one of the couples. They came over to our house to hang out and eventually visited the church.
Join community/civic organizations.
I have previously been a member of the Chamber of Commerce and went to their luncheons. This is an easy way to network with people who want to talk with you, and is probably one of the easiest ways to invite someone to church.
Set up meetings with key community leaders and cultivate relationships with them.
When I first moved to Chattanooga in early 2012, I asked some key business leaders in the church for a list of the 25 most influential business leaders. After getting a list from several of these leaders, I had my assistant schedule meetings with these folks.
This is how I got to know the mayor and most of the movers and shakers in the business and political worlds of our community. Even better, I invited every single one of them to church. It was a great way for me to get outside of the Christian cocoon.
It is vital for spiritual health and leadership to get outside the bubble of Christian people all around you. I hope these ideas help.
Do you have any additional ideas to be around non-Christians? Let me know in the comment section below.