What stops your sports friends from becoming Christians?
When sportspeople ask questions, we want to try and do more than just simply answer them and move on. Often there is something behind their initial question, motivating it, often hiding a deeper heart issue. We need to listen carefully to them and respond as fully as we can.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
- In verse 21 – what haven’t we done and what condition does this leave us in?
- In verse 22-23 – what are the practical out workings of this condition?
Romans 1:21-23 exposes my sports friends’ thinking – they do know of God, they just suppress the truth because they do not want to submit to Him. Our friend’s issue is also their heart; therefore, we need to aim our answers not just to their heads but to their hearts and their desires, and get on our knees and pray that God would change our friends’ hearts.
We need to listen carefully: ‘Is there a question behind the question?’ Don’t assume that you know exactly where your friend is coming from.
STOP – take a breath; don’t just react!
HEAR – make sure you listen well to their question.
ASK – ask questions to understand them and their question.
RESPOND – Pushing and Pulling. Gently push their idea or misunderstanding of who God is to a more accurate one. Pull them towards who Christ is.
ENCOURAGE – it’s best for them to read the Bible for themselves (suggest Mark as a good place to start and offer to meet up with them to do it together).
Discuss this as a group and talk through what it would be like to use this framework.
What does this mean for us?
As a group, begin to plan a Pre-Match meal with your team. This time, as you invite your sports friends, ask them what is it that puts them off becoming a Christian. Off the back of the last event, what questions do they have about the Christian faith?’
Pray together now for your conversations, remembering that the reason our sports friends reject God and therefore ask their question, is both a head and heart issue. Pray that God unblinds their minds and shines His light into their hearts!