Welcome to this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. I’m happy to have Dave and Jon Ferguson with us from Community Christian Church. Community has nine locations in Illinois as well as online services and works in three correctional facilities.
Almost all Christians want to share the love of Jesus with their friends and neighbors. But it often feels awkward when we try, or it feels like we failed at a bad sales pitch and results in frustration. Listen in as Jon and Dave share how they’ve equipped the people at Community Christian so they know what it looks like, in very practical ways, to help others find their way back to God.
- Blessing vs Converting. // Many believers have been compelled by what they’ve experienced with God, but just haven’t figured out what it looks like to share their faith in a natural way. Often they end up feeling like they are trying to coerce or convince somebody. Community Christian Church believed there had to be a better way when it came to sharing the gospel. They came across a doctoral dissertation called “Blessers vs Converters” where two groups went to Thailand. One group went for the purpose of trying to convert people to Christianity and the other group went to focus on blessing the people there. Over a two year period, the blessers created a lot of social good and saw 100 people come to faith. Meanwhile the converters saw only 2 people come to faith. This led Community Christian to come up with the Bless Practices.
- Proclamation and demonstration. // The Bless Practices are not something to add to your life, but rather a way to live your life similar to how Jesus lived his. He blessed people and introduced grace to them. Community Christian realized that just because people in the church know your mission statement, it doesn’t mean they are living it out. They may want to, but they need practical tools to do so. This is where the Bless Practices come in.
- B.L.E.S.S. // Dave and Jon use the word B.L.E.S.S. as an acronym that offers guidance in how to reach out to others. B – Begin with prayer. Pray for the people in your neighborhood and your coworkers and let God direct you who to reach out to. L – Listen. 62% of non-christians and lapsed christians said they would talk about faith with people who didn’t pass judgement. E – Eat. Find ways to integrate other people into meals, coffee breaks and so on and use these things to build friendships. S – Serve. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve to others. Listen and learn how you can best serve that person to bless them. S – Story. When people were ready to listen to Jesus, He would tell a story. We also can tell stories about how God has worked in our lives.
- Let us bless, let God convert. // It’s important to remember that our job is to bless while it’s God’s job to convert. We often don’t listen long enough because we think it’s our job to convert, but listening is a great way to love someone. Embrace a posture of humility. Although we know the truth and the truth sets us free, we don’t know everything. We don’t know other’s stories and need to listen well as they share.
- Be a blessing. // Dave and Jon Ferguson have written a book titled B.L.E.S.S.: Five Everyday Ways to Love Your Neighbor and Change the World. The book is meant to offer a more organic and authentic way to share faith and goes into more depth on these five simple and straightforward practices and how you can live them out.
You can learn more about Dave and Jon and their book at www.bless-book.org . If your church would like to do a teaching series using B.L.E.S.S., send an email to Dave to get access to free resources that will help you in equipping your church to share their faith more naturally.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Carey Nieuwhof
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