Six things to remember about coming alongside

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


I am normally not a fan of ten steps to this or five steps to do that, but I recently came up with these six things to remember about being a marketplace Christian. Think of them not as steps to get somewhere, but as ways to think which might be different than what’s gone before.

  1. Assume everyone is searching for God. Why? Because everyone is. We were created this way. God has purposely frustrated humanity by creating us with eternity in our hearts, yet with an inability to fathom what that is or what it means (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11). He has done this so that we might reach out for him and find him though He is not far from any of us for in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:27-28).
  2. Come alongside. This is really the crux of it all. Just walk alongside people and enter into their lives. Listen. Talk. Laugh. Cry. Find out where you can contribute and what you can learn. There’s something to give and something to receive in every relationship.
  3. Point. You don’t tell someone what the truth is; you point to it. “There it is over there,” or “Here it is in my life.” This is why we need to learn to identify truth in the context of the world around us. Truth isn’t religious. You don’t have to get into a certain posture to see it. It’s not something that hasn’t been there all along. You don’t have to point out what’s wrong about what someone might believe; point out what’s right.
  4. Find out what people already know before you set out to tell them anything. Don’t ever think you have to clear the table and start over. This is why it’s so important to listen first. Find out what’s already on the table that you can use.
  5. You don’t have to tell everything you know. Just the next thing.
  6. You don’t have to correct everything someone says that is wrong. You are not the protector and defender of truth. You don’t have to decide where to draw the line. You don’t even have to be concerned if someone may be walking away with the wrong idea. You are not that smart anyway because you don’t know what’s in someone’s head. As long as they have something to think about, that’s a good thing.

And now here’s the one final thing that makes all this possible. It is the most important of all. (This is the one thing that makes all six of these make sense.) We don’t save anybody, convince anybody, “win” anybody to Christ or close the deal. All that is God’s business. The Holy Spirit is doing this all on His own terms and timetable. We are not salesmen, marketing reps, counselors or prosecutors. We are just friends who come alongside. And that’s a big deal.

This entry was posted in relationships and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Six things to remember about coming alongside

  1. Pamela Lundy says:

    This is so very good and wise.

  2. David W. Reis says:

    Initially as a young Christian, I thought winning people to Christ was a skill to be developed. I read books, attended seminars and always had a pocket full of tracts. In college I found my first Christian mentor in the pastor of University Baptist Church. Stacy Shaw, “Uncle” to his students. For years he was a very successful as a vacuum salesman back in the early 1900s. He was an evangelist prior to his calling to minister to college students at Purdue University. He told us that for a time he enjoyed a long season of harvest. Consequently he began to put out the idea that if you weren’t winning people to Christ, that something was wrong with your walk with our Savior. THEN came a year when he hadn’t lead a single person to the Lord. Uncle kept short accounts with the Lord and earnestly sought an answer to the dry season. The answer he received was a reminder as to who is the Lord of the Harvest. we sow, water, weed. But it i’s God’s harvest. I still think it is good to have a couple good tracts and be able to give your testimony in 30 seconds. Read Scripture daily. Pray not out of guilt, but at His promptings. I see now that they won’t ask about the hope that is within me unless there is a connection. I just saw this quote “Be curious, not judgemental” (BTW not a Walt Whitman quote after all.) They don’t care what we know until they know that we care.

  3. John A Fagliano says:

    Who leads people to God? No one comes to me unless the Father draw him (John 6:44) No one knows the Father except the Son and anyone whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.(Matthew 11:27) So the Father draws a person to Jesus knowing Jesus will choose to reveal the Father to the person. They work together to close the deal. So where do we come in? We are just witnesses. We tell the whole truth and nothing else and then someone else takes the stand. That’s it. We are not the judge or the jury. That’s God and the person. We just tell our story honestly and move on. How simple.

  4. Gary says:

    Hoping this isn’t too simple or redundant…Hallelujah and Amen!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.