By Jonathan Moseley
It's good to be the home team. There’s a reason why it’s called home field advantage in sports. You have the fans and momentum on your side. For crucial plays, the crowd caters to what the home team needs, sometimes loud chants and big roars or sometimes silence and an anticipatory hush, all to help the home team gain a little edge over their opponent. The opposing team is coming into a foreign context, so they don’t know the ends and outs of the court or field like the home team does. And occasionally, the referees will even give a call or two in favor of the home squad. Home field has its advantages.
As we think about evangelism and reaching our friends for Jesus Christ, we tend to make two common mistakes. One is that we do it alone. We gather in our community groups and talk about the person we’re praying for, then put our hands in and break the huddle. Everyone goes their own ways for the week until we return and share updates about whether or not we had the opportunity to talk about God. The second mistake is that we settle for being the away team. We go to their turf. In other words, we try to fit into the world’s scene often being influenced more than we’re influencing.
Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” John 13:34-35
What’s one way to have home field advantage with our nonbelieving friends?
Community Groups. If loving one another is the means by which the world will know we are Jesus’ disciples, we need to give our lost friends front row seats to the arena of sacrificial, devoted, life-giving love that finds its source in Jesus. In other words, we need to help our Christless friends engage somewhere where Christ reigns. And it’s our jobs to invite them into that. When they get a glimpse of a group of people whose words are genuine, whose attitudes are humble, whose tones are gentle, whose service is merciful, and whose lives are selfless, the compelling beauty they see just might be what God uses to create a desire in them for Jesus.
So, leverage CG’s for this purpose. People skeptic about religion will come into a home before they walk into a church. Let community groups be a welcoming place for an investigative person to come and check out what a group of people following Jesus looks like. As a group, plan events that would make it easy to invite people to and brainstorm together what settings would help highlight Christian community, and at the same time, be something your nonbelieving friends might enjoy.
Jonathan Moseley is the Director of Community and Operations at Renewal Church.