What is BLESS?
Since the very beginning of our story with God, He has demonstrated His deep love for us through His blessing. In turn, we become a blessing to others. GENESIS 12:2
We have been blessed so that we can be a blessing to the world. One of the most important ways we are called to bless our world is by inviting others into a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ. BLESS is a new approach to prayer and evangelism. It’s a way of loving our neighbor as a natural part of our everyday life, and it’s done through five simple missional practices. We invite you to live out BLESS with those around you.
Jesus came to find people who are lost and to help those who are hurting. As we seek to join Him in His mission, we begin with prayer recognizing we can only do this through God's power.
Turn to God
Begin by asking God, "Where are You already at work? Where do You want me to join You in the work You are doing in my family, friends, and others You are seeking to draw toward Yourself? How do You want me to bless the people in the places You have sent me?
Create a Prayer List
- Think about the people in each of your FRANC circles of influence (Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors, Co-workers) who need God.
- Pray over the names, asking God to draw you to 3-5 people to pray for daily. Write those names down.
- Ask God how you can pray for each person.
- Take at least one minute each day to pray for each person on this list.
To BLESS others, begin with listening rather than talking. Jesus often engages people by asking them questions and loving them through conversations. When people are heard and understood, they feel safe and valued. So get curious and ask good questions. Listen deeply to people's dreams and pain. What's more, listen for evidence of God's work in their lives so you can participate in the work God is already doing. Listen well.
Spiritual Conversation Starters
God is always seeking to reach and restore the world through blessings (Genesis 12:2). Here are some questions to help yo begin a conversation with people who are far from God and spiritual topics:
- Do you have any religious background, and does it mean anything to you?
- What is the story of your faith journey? How have your perspectives changed over time?
- Have you ever had what you would consider to be a spiritual experience? What happened?
- Do you think there is a God? What do you think God is like? What questions would you like to ask God if you could?
- Have you ever had good of bad experiences with Christians or with the church? What were they? (Sometimes we have to rebuild broken trust before a conversation can more forward).
To BLESS others, seek creative ways to share meals together. Through the simple act of eating together, we practice hospitality, build community, and deepen relationships. Jesus commonly ate and drank with those He sought to engage, such as Matthew, Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman, and many others. We can richly BLESS others through missional hospitality.
Creative Ways to Eat Together
Here are some ways to eat with people who do not know God:
- Have dinner together at your home or a restaurant.
- Share a pizza.
- Enjoy a cup of coffee together.
- Host a holiday party.
- Organize a block party or backyard neighborhood BBQ.
- Include others in your family celebrations.
- Try new restaurants together.
- Add one person to one meal per week.
Perhaps the most powerful way to BLESS others is by serving them in love. Jesus' ministry was characterized by service (Matthew 20:28), and He showed the full extent of His love to His disciples by serving them (John 13:1-17). We too can have a profound impact through service. As you listen deeply and build community with others, you will discover meaningful opportunities to serve them, As we freely and joyfully serve others, they will begin to experiences the love of Jesus in tangible ways. God longs to love others through you.
Here are some ideas for how you can begin to serve the people in your live who do not know God with love:
- Have dinner together.
- Serve through small acts of kindness.
- Volunteer to take care of a tangible need (cook a meal, babysit, help with yard work, etc.).
- Make their birthday special.
- Join a community service project with someone who is journeying toward God.
- Send a greeting card.
- Offer to pray.
- Give or lend something.
- Don't miss the big needs - births, deaths, trials, sicknesses, and more.
- Allow others to reciprocate and serve you in love.
Once you begin building relationships and earning trust, look for opportunities to BLESS others by sharing the story of how Jesus is transforming your life and the world. You don't need a script and you don't need a dramatic story. When you set Christ apart in your heart, you become different. You experience grace. You know what it is like to be forgiven. You know what is means to have purpose. You handle your relationships differently than you once did. You make financial decisions differently than before. You approach career priorities differently than others. Your heart has grown for God's mission to extend the whole gospel to the whole world. Jesus changes everything. You can tell the story.
Share Your Story
Here are some ways to bless others through sharing your story:
- BEFORE: My story before I committed my life to following Jesus. Tell what was missing in your life.
- DURING: My story of how I made a commitment to follow Jesus. Tell how you made that commitment and what you did.
- AFTER: My story after I made a commitment to follow Jesus. Tell about the difference that following Jesus has made in your life.
If your story doesn't follow a before, during, and after pattern, consider a time when God worked in your life and you were changed, or a time when you had a significant encounter with God. You can share that story using the same format outlined above.