Tip #5 - How to Influence People
through Friendship and Service

photo courtesy of sideshowbarker Number 5

I have learned how to influence people through my two best friends. They have greatly influenced my relationship with Jesus. My relationship with these men is a blend of discipleship and friendship. Discipling others is first and foremost about being a friend.

Discipling begins before conversion

Discipleship starts long before a person becomes a convert. The simple thrust of the Jesus’ great commission is go and disciple people everywhere. This means discipling is a process that begins before conversion. Even Jesus became friends with the Twelve before they were converted. It is not our role to convert people, but to disciple them. Conversion is exclusively God’s territory. Every person who comes into your orbit is a person you could disciple – by first becoming his or her friend. A true friend conveys one simple message: part of the reason for my life is to make yours a whole lot better.

Jesus teaches us how to influence people

This is what Jesus did during his earthly ministry. Leaving his throne of grace, Jesus came to earth and lived his life among the lost. He brought God’s grace into everyday settings like people’s homes, social events and the marketplace. Problems and life circumstances were his classroom.

Being aware is more important than being smart

With an acute spiritual and relational awareness Jesus looked for people. In his book The Overload Syndrome, Dr. Richard A Swenson notes, “Ministry was the person standing in front of him at the time.” Jesus gave common grace to the needy and amazing grace to the receptive. Trusting God’s power, no situation was hopeless. Jesus never let anything hinder the flow of God’s love.

Is it time to narrow your focus so you can minister to the people in front of you? These words from Paul will inspire you.

Begin with Friendship

The discipleship process begins with friendship. When unbelievers see us as friends they are more likely to see Jesus as one. We should approach our relational networks like Jesus would – as servants and friends. Offering grace and truth, we can be spiritual guidees to those who are struggling with life. Confidently believe that your daily work serves His kingdom. Your specific occupation, position and company are irrelevant. What matters is your availability to God. Your friendship is more valuable than a title. God is able to channel his grace through you.

Informal contact is crucial

Relationships are built by informal contact outside of the formal meeting. Phone calls, breakfasts, lunches, socializing and serving together connect people at a deeper level.

Be bold and creative. Let your imagination entertain the opportunities to do life together.

Here are some of the things I have done with those I have discipled.

  • day trips
  • sporting events
  • hunting trips
  • concerts
  • golfing
  • building a playhouse
  • traveling together to visit friends
  • free events in your community
  • helping your community

The more time you can spend outside your formal meeting the better.

I know this sounds easy and obvious. But, when is the last time you spent time (outside of class) with someone you are discipling? What do you normally do that you could invite someone to do with you? This is how to influence people that Jesus has put in your path.

If your friend wants to study the Bible, here's a good way to start.

Bible Basics is especially written for people "who don't know what the Bible is, let alone what it's all about."

If you can read it, you can lead it!

More training in making disciples through relationships.

Make Disciples Through Being a Good Friend

Discipleship Lessons from the book of Timothy (an audio sermon)

Make disciples where you live, work and play.

How has this tip helped you? Do you have a tip for us?
We'd love to hear from you.

Author: Paul Schlieker - www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com

For any reuse or distribution of How to Influence People or any of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

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