Have you ever done jury duty? I've been called a half dozen times. At least three of those requests were set aside due to extenuating circumstances I could not control. There was one event almost 25 years ago where I sat on a trial that involved possible manslaughter and corporate negligence. It was so unusual to be given direct instruction to talk to nobody outside the courthouse. We couldn't talk to our families, our coworkers, nobody! As it turned out, the jury never got to deliver a verdict because the corporation decided to settle out of court. Those were a few days lost but some lessons learned.
In our situation, we could not consort with others. We were sort of muzzled. God forbid that squelching would ever occur in the faith community (church).
Yesterday, we attended an Orange leadership conference and this slide was presented. As I pondered the message, it made sense that believers in Jesus have been commissioned to make disciples. That means we must be in connection with non-believers. I mean, think about it, how many non-believers do we have as close friends? Usually, when one accepts Jesus as Lord, we begin to separate ourselves from secular influences. I have heard of people leaving their secular friends behind, burning their 70s rock and roll collections and other bizarre things.
What Reggie Joiner was saying made me reconsider how faith is shared. It is impossible for us to fulfill our mission in God's church if we're unwilling to go serve the fallen broken world that resides right beside us. He amplified this concept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ must compel us to go beyond the walls of the church and meet people where they live. This Gospel draws us toward those who don't think like us, don't speak like us, and don't live like us. This Good News leads us toward and not away from building relationships with non-church goers.
How are you doing in your faith journey? Are you serving somewhere in the service ministries of your church? Have you shared your faith in Jesus Christ with more than one person in the last 9 months? If you have been in your church for more than a couple years and aren't serving the Lord in the Great Commission, you might need to reconsider your salvation and your faith. Hanging out with "believers" will never get you close enough to the lost, the last, and the least.
Doing life with people who aren't like us is a prerequisite to making disciples for Jesus. We don't get to chose who we will or will not connect with. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 did not specify to whom we should go, but only to "Go."