All the programs, brochures, and desires available for reaching people won’t bring success without personally becoming involved in building relationships with them. Here are some methods that have worked well:
• Meet people where they are. This should not be confused with meeting people where we would like them to be. Handing off doctrinal tracts is probably not the best way to start relationships. There is a time and a place for sharing the truths of our precious message, but first build a friendship. A smile and a caring attitude go a long way toward that goal.
• Reach out in creative, nontraditional ways. Do you have a talent for quilting? Start a quilting group in your community or join one. Are you passionate about buying and selling on eBay? Tutor someone who wants to learn how that’s done. Are you a thrifty shopper? Start a coupon club. Begin with what you enjoy or are passionate about. God can bless you with relational “connecting points” that will help you to grow a friendship.
• Pray for the Holy Spirit to create opportunities. God’s timing and methods are not always the same as ours. He knows when and how to open doors for those with whom we have built relationships.
• Continue friendships with those who don’t show spiritual interest. It’s tempting to disconnect with those who don’t show “fruit,” but keep being friends—simply because it’s the right thing to do. Casting them aside is just wrong.
The more we build relational trust with people, the more we will experience opportunities to share our faith. Using nontraditional methods of outreach allows us to stand side by side with people that we might not otherwise have the privilege of being in contact with.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists