If you’ve ever tried to do anything new before, then you know at first it can be harder than you expected. I was reminded of this just after Christmas when I tried to ride my son’s new hoverboard. He made it look so easy, and he’s only 9, so I thought for sure I could handle it as a 35 year old… Not quite… It twisted, rocked, and almost threw me off just as quick as I tried to get on. I don’t have great balance to begin with, but apparently it’s worse than I thought.

Because we’ve all had experiences where we’ve tried something new only to have it not go as planned, I think we can overthink things when other new opportunities come around… Maybe God’s placed a new opportunity in front of you that you haven’t yet taken a step to receive?

Specifically, I think this happens when it comes to further connecting with the people around us. Maybe at some point you were challenged to invite a friend to church or share your faith. In response, perhaps you did so knowing you weren’t comfortable or prepared, but you did it anyway. Then, they rejected you or you stumbled over your words like a young child tripping over their feet as they learn to walk. You decided the whole experience was a “negative” and that you’d never do it again.

What if I could present you with a different option? What if instead of doing something that felt unnatural, you could just be encouraged to do something natural? Maybe instead of being pressured into doing something where you didn’t feel prepared, you could do something that you know God led you do.

The truth is you can’t skip important steps with people around you. If you are looking for a quick win to mark on your religious scorecard, then sure, skip the journey and cut to the point. However, if you want to see someone connect with Jesus in a way that you can actually disciple them and invest your life into them (which is what we are all called to do), then just act normal and take small steps… One small step at a time.

Practically speaking, think of it like what is shared below. I’ve found that taking seemingly small, yet intentional steps over a long period of time is something any of us can do with the leadership of the Holy Spirit. How we’ve done this as a family over the years has been shaped by processes like the one I’ve shared below… You can click HERE to find some great ideas to get this process started. You can click HERE to read the entire article where I found this process. You can click HERE to read about mindset adjustments you may need to make in order to see this become a reality.

  • Strangers become neighbors when they know who you are and you know who they are. But the knowledge at this point is very superficial.
  • A neighbor becomes an acquaintance when you begin to have a shared life through the integrity of your interactions. By that, I mean the sincerity of your words and consistency of your actions create a plausibility to neighbors that gives permission to share life through regular greetings, short conversations, etc.
  • Acquaintances become friends when you make an intentional investment so that the rhythms of life with other people sync up so that a shared life is more than a casual conversation. You are in their homes, and they are in your home. You connect on a regular basis. They open up to you in ways that you understand the story of their lives, and as a good listener, learn how the story of the gospel can find redemptive bridges to cross into their world.
  • Friends become family when you naturally share with your friends who you are and what is most important to you. You tell them your story and how God has made you new. And through the relationship investment, your friend feels safe asking questions and bringing up objections knowing they are not a project to fix or a sale to make.
  • Family members become missionaries when they walk with you through life-on-life practical instruction on what it means to follow Jesus. They become fluent in the gospel and shaped by the reign of Christ when seeking first the kingdom of God. And they wrestle with the struggles and share in the successes together with you while joining you as a missionary in their neighborhood and city.