I’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.
Here’s a look at how we can reach other people, by using Paul’s visit to the Areopagus as an example.
All Things to All Men
I have become all things to all men so that by any means some may be saved. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
Paul used his life as a means to reach others for Christ.
“Make me one with everything.” (Zen Buddhist to the hot dog vendor)
Paul then stood up in the middle of the Areopagus… (Acts 17:22)
“Slick” Willie Sutton robbed banks. Why? Because that’s where the money was.
Why did Paul go to the Areopagus? That’s where the Greeks were.
“No matter where you go, there you are.” (Buckaroo Banzai)
“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.” (Acts 17:22)
Paul looked for common ground. He didn’t agree with a lot of their culture and practices, but he found something that he could use as an anchor to start that relationship.
“When I fall back down, you’re gonna help me back up again.” (Rancid)
“For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship…” (Acts 17:23)
Paul didn’t walk into the situation cold; he learned what he could about the people and the place. Sun Tzu advised us to know our enemy. How much more, then, should we know our potential friends?
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Ferris Bueller)
“I even found an altar to an unknown god. You are ignorant of the very thing you worship.” (Acts 17:23)
It’s a lot easier for us to listen to a new idea if we first realize that we have a problem that this idea can address. Sales teams often talk about finding out the pain point of your prospect. Paul found the altar for the unknown god because the Greeks suspected there was someone they missed.
“I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.” (Christopher Walken)
“This is what I am going to proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:23)
Paul shared the good news in the way that they were most comfortable with. As a group of philosophers, they loved lectures and debates. It’s up to us to reach our own audience in the best way we can.
“Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” (Inigo Montoyta)
Some of them sneered, but others became followers and believed. (Acts 17:34)
Paul helped those interested in taking the next step. He invited them on his journey, and spent time teaching them, as he planted churches throughout the region.
“Don’t lead me, I may not follow. Don’t follow, I may not lead. Just leave me the heck alone.” (Albert Camut, not really)
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
We all have many aspects of who we are inside. Our temperaments, spiritual gifts, psychological makeup, love languages as more. We can use our strengths and even our weaknesses to reach others.
“I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” (Popeye the Sailor Man)
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 25:2)
We all have life experience that we can draw on to get to know others. Our school, job, travel; our favorite books, movies, music, art, sports, and games; celebrations and even sorrows. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum; ours or anyone else’s.
“Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” (Randy Pausch)
Jesus said to them, “You will be my witnesses to all the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
You know people that I don’t know, and vice versa. We meet people at our neighborhoods, schools, churches, jobs, and events. Everyone we meet is a beloved child of God Almighty, and needs him just as much as we do.
We’re all six degrees from Kevin Bacon.
Paul’s approach can help us to be all THINGS, and using our backgrounds can help us reach all MEN.
T – Travel
H – Harmony
I – Interaction
N – Need
G – Gospel
S – Shepherd
M – Mentality
E – Experience
N – Network
Download the PowerPoint.