Hannah Hurst, Staff Writer
1. Yell at them “You are going to Hell!”
I’m sure when you first read over this one you thought, “Well duh, that's not going to work.” Yet in reality, this actually happens a lot when Christians try to minister to Non-Christians. Maybe the Christian individual doesn’t literally scream into the face of a non-Christian about an eternity spent away from God, but this message often comes across through a Christian’s tone of voice, body language, mood and intentions in a conversation.
A more effective approach might be to form a relationship with that non-Christian friend of yours and reflect God’s love towards them. Be real with them, showing that you genuinely care about their life. In his novel UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity...And why it Matters, David Kinnaman gives several methods Christians can use to effectively reach non-Christians, all of which begin with a relationship.
“Shifting the get-saved perception happens when we learn that relationships are key -- not just in leading people to Christ but also in helping them be transformed,” writes Kinnaman.
2. Dominate the conversation.
Believe it or not, when a Christian takes over a conversation and only discusses their own beliefs, it quickly disengages a non-Christian from the conversation. When Christians dominate the conversation it makes non-Christians feel as if their own opinions and beliefs don’t matter... so they stop listening. Thus while preparing to minister to a non-Christian, a Christian should take into consideration the fact that if they fill the conversation with their beliefs it could appear overbearing to a non-Christian.
This does not mean that Christians should not contribute anything to a discussion, but rather Christians should spend a significant amount of time listening too. A non-Christian will be much more likely to listen to a Christian’s message if they feel that the other side is actually engaging in a conversation with them and cares about what they have to say. In some cases, actions speak louder than words. Perhaps a non-believer may learn more about the Gospel through a Christian's actions as opposed to a lecture from them. In his novel Roaring Lambs: A Gentle Plan to Radically Change Your World, Bob Briner explains how Christians can make an impact for Christ through their jobs in secular media. Briner emphasizes the need for Christians to use their workplace as a way to communicate Christ.
3. Prove why you are right, and their opinions are wrong.
Joseph Rollins, a professor at North Greenville University, explains that Christians often fall into this trap on social media. “Social media plays a large role in how not to minister to people...How Christians use social media is both a major opportunity and a major problem,” said Rollins.
Christians who constantly engage in ALL CAPS battles with their non-Christians friends on social media fall into two categories. Group 1, which only posts to show everyone why their opinions about politics are right and everyone else’s is wrong. And group 2, in which Christians argue with other Christians over little details which half of the general population does not even care about. This really hurts the Christian witness, explains Rollins. When discussing religion with others who have an opposing view, many Christians often get defensive and try to prove that whatever their opposition believes is completely wrong. Alternatively, Christians should aim to approach non-Christians with humility and patience, sharing their story out of a loving heart.