I have learned that God is the one who produces the fruit and it’s my job to simply keep going for as long as it takes… without an agenda. We often treat those who don’t yet follow Christ as though they are idiots. But they are sharp and finely tuned to Christians’ agendas. We do ourselves a disservice by sneaking into a community for a season to achieve salvations, and when we don’t achieve it we leave. People who aren’t following Christ notice it. They see us do it and say to themselves, That’s exactly what I thought they would do. It’s what they have always done. They’ve seen evangelists come into high schools to do a talk and then leave straight afterwards. High school students who were touched by the evangelist’s message later ask, “Where is he now that I’m in trouble?”
It seems as though there is no thought of longevity to this method. The problem with this kind of agenda is that it makes it about us. We have to genuinely love our community, even if they never come to our church. We have to serve them selflessly. I know it’s inconvenient. I wish it wasn’t that way. But people tend to reject Christians with an agenda like that.
I know you’re probably saying right now, Of course we have an agenda, Paul! It’s to get people saved! We want everybody to be saved! That’s our number one goal! Yes of course it is, but we need to step back from that compulsion and love them first. We should give of ourselves first. We should serve them first. And tied to that, we should become engaged in what they love doing and become a part of their life and their world. When we do that, people will begin to trust us. They’ll begin to trust what we do and say. From there we can build relationships.