We’re Christians, and we know what we’re supposed to do: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19, ESV). I often think about the fact that I know what I’m supposed to, but I do not know how I am to do it. As a young leader, I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that comes my way. It seems that a new “must-read” book about discipling all nations is published every day. But each book has a different theory or idea regarding how to do so.
Many of the books and resources are very helpful, but I sometimes think we’ve overcomplicated the gospel. In the past year, since graduating from Life Pacific College (LPC) and leading the LPC Study Abroad team to Turkey, this is what I’ve discovered: My dad taught me everything I needed to know about reaching the nations when I was a little girl.
My dad passed away when I was 7, and that is when I learned the key to reaching people. It’s not about getting people to go to my church or presenting winning arguments about what I believe. Reaching people is done simply by loving them and being a neighbor to them—just as Jesus told us to do in Luke 10.
My dad lived his whole life in a tiny town in Maine. He loved everyone in town, and everyone in town loved him. Hundreds of people attended his funeral and shared stories of how my dad made their lives better, and how they felt loved and accepted by him no matter what their background was. They said he was the best neighbor anyone could have asked for.
My dad was a bit rough around the edges, not what you would typically think of as a person who influences others for the Lord. But he loved Jesus, and he loved his neighbors.
Luke 10:25-37 records the parable of the Good Samaritan, which Jesus told in response to a religious man who wanted to justify himself by doing good works. Answering the man’s initial question about pleasing God, Jesus stated: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (v. 27, ESV).
I love the parable that followed. The Samaritan was the least likely to be a “neighbor” to a Jewish person in need, but his actions became an example to all of us. Jesus ended the parable recorded in Luke 10 by saying, “Go, and do likewise” (v. 37).
As Jesus has commanded, let’s go out and be good neighbors, sharing God’s love and grace with all whose paths we cross. That’s the most effective way to reach the nations.
By: Meagan McLaughlin, a Foursquare evangelist from Calvary (Gardiner Foursquare Church) in Gardiner, Maine.