We want to make sure every person in Jacksonville has the chance to hear and respond to the gospel. At First Baptist, we are people who share. We want to train and equip our members to know how to share their faith with the people in their lives: co-workers, family members, neighbors, and more.
There is one thing in life that matters: faith in Jesus Christ.
By God’s grace, we will take that message to this city.
We have a bold passion for our city! We want Jacksonville to fall in love with Jesus. Consider how you can share in this city what Jesus has done for you.
We have a radical ambition for the nations! Consider how you can give, help, or go to support the great commission across the world.
Who is one person you can intentionally reach this year? We are asking every church member to intentionally invest in reaching one neighbor, one co-worker, one friend, or one family member in Jacksonville.
1.PRAY FOR THEM. Write their names on your Reach sheet and put the card in a prominent place in your house. Where will you see it daily? Commit to pray for them regularly. Psalm 126 promises that if we are diligent to sow and ask God for help, then we will see him do great things. We must continually beg the Lord to bring our friends and neighbors to life in Christ. Pray that God would bless you with opportunities to build a relationship with that person and that you would be sensitive to the Spirit for opportunities to minister to that person (Ephesians 6:19 – sidebar would be nice here as well). Pray, because the greatest evangelistic strategy in the world will fail if God does not move through you in that person’s life (Psalm 128:1-2).
2.GREET THEM. Be friendly! A simple smile and hello can be a powerfully warm and meaningful gesture. God made humanity in his own image and every person is valuable (Genesis 1:27). We should seek to show kindness through every means possible because people are valuable and we never know when God will grant us the opportunity to share Christ through relationships. Be intentional. If we aren’t intentional with our greetings, then we will be forgettable and can come across cold. It takes intentionality to be friendly. Learn names. Ask for someone’s name and try to remember it. Write it down on your Reach card or a notebook and pray for them. In the church, the Bible instructs us to greet each other by name because it is important (3 John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 13:12). This is a great habit to extend to unbelievers and shows genuine care.
3.GET TO KNOW THEM. The Bible tells us we are to be slow to speak and quick to hear (James 1:19). This principle requires us to ask questions and get to know others.
Getting to know people is one effective way to follow Christ in evangelism. Jesus knew the people he was attempting to reach. He asked questions and was observant. Following this example gives us opportunity to connect God’s story to the story of the people we are reaching out to.
Ask open ended questions in conversation. Asking open ended questions gives someone the opportunity to express what they are really thinking. Out of the heart the mouth speaks, and it is important to hear the desires of someone’s heart (Luke 6:45; Proverbs 20:5). Here are some examples of questions to get started:
Observe and note things about those you are reaching so that you can bless them. As you ask questions and get to know others, you will discover important information. You might discover their birthday is near or that they have just found out they are expecting a child. This information is important because you can follow up intentionally with a gesture of kindness in the future.
You might observe that they clam up or become excited when they discover that you attend church or are more spiritual than they are. This is good to observe and you can have an opportunity to follow up and ask them questions about their responses. Follow up questions can include questions like, “I noticed you were excited when I mentioned church, do you consider yourself spiritual?” Or, “What are your thoughts about visiting church? Have you had a good experience or a poor experience?”
4.SHOW CARE / SERVE THEM. Utilize the information you discover in getting to know others in order to love and serve them. Perhaps you learn they are a coffee or tea drinker as you chat at work. You can buy them a special bag of coffee or a nice can of Harney and Sons tea at 4 Grounds to give them the following week. Perhaps you notice that you personally hate dragging your trash can back to your garage every Thursday after the trash collection. You might realize that your neighbors also don’t enjoy this task. This could be an opportunity for you to pull your neighbor’s trash cans up to their garage and surprise them with this small caring act. Perhaps as you get to know your neighbors you learn that they have a busy life and two little toddlers. You can volunteer to babysit them so they can have a well needed date. Perhaps you learn that they have recently had a death in the family. You can send them a hand-written note with a gift card attached and let them know that you are praying for them.
5EXTEND A SOCIAL INVITE. Social invites are easy to offer and have no risk. Typically, the worst that someone can say is “no.” Invite them over to your house for a cookout or a crock pot meal. This is a great way to show Christian hospitality and extend authentic care (1 Peter 4:9). In our culture today, there are people who would never step foot inside a church building, but they would come over for coffee and a board game or popcorn and a movie. If you are into movies, you could continue your regular movie watching activity but just invite a new friend to come watch it with you. If you are a Jaguars fan, you could plan your game day event and just add a new friend along for the fun.
6INVITE THEM TO CHURCH. Inviting someone to church can be a way to open the door to deeper conversations. For various reasons, you might not feel comfortable sharing the whole gospel with someone, but a church invite is a great step. There are always exciting events at FBC JAX that might interest various families or singles. Don’t restrict your church invite to just Sunday morning. Many unbelievers are unable to attend on Sunday mornings due to work schedule, but you can invite them to a different service at a different time. You can tell them about a new Wednesday night teaching series that might interest them or you can tell them about a Sunday night service that is low key and informal. You can observe how someone responds to your church invite and it can give you an indication of their views on spiritual matters. Some might be excited, some might be hesitant, some might have never been invited to church at all! You can follow up on their response and ask further questions about it.
7HAVE A SPIRITUAL CONVERSATION WITH THEM. In biblical relational evangelism, you must get to know someone in numerous ways. You get to know their family history, their leisure preferences, their hobbies and their career dreams. Intertwined in each of these areas are spiritual matters. People are either living according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. It is important that you learn about the spiritual beliefs and practices of the people you are reaching.
Look for ways to introduce spiritual topics. What are their greatest fears or hopes in life? What are griefs or sorrows that have affected them? What are challenges they are facing? These issues can be opportunities to introduce them to God and to ask them their perspective on Jesus. Questions that can help you open up a spiritual conversation can include the following:
Once you are engaged in a spiritual conversation, you can look for ways to connect them to the good news of Jesus Christ. You can tell them about his cross and his resurrection. This is the most important part of the conversation and the entire point of Reach.
A helpful construct to communicate the gospel as we reach Jacksonville is God, Man, Christ, Response.