“I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” -The Apostle Paul
By the grace of God, the Apostle Paul saw the Gospel spread throughout the majority of the Roman Empire (a pretty sizeable chunck of the world) as a result of his ministry. One of the biggest reasons for this growth – second only to the work of the Holy Spirit – was Paul’s flexible approach toward people. He spoke in Jewish Synagogues and Roman palaces, in Grecian Philosophical arenas and provincial prisons. He spoke to sailors, jailors, prisoners, slaves, politicians, soldiers, and so on. He was successful because he learned the secret of relating to people where they were in life not where he thought they should be. He was flexible and understanding.
Likewise, as our world changes due to globalization, economic turns, political agendas, and so on the Church is going to be faced with new challenges and new types of people. As we are faced with these new challenges we should take Paul’s approach and say, “I will become all things to all men.”
But let’s bring this a little closer to home. You may not be concerned with or even affected by global or even national events. Let’s say you’re more concerned about an unruly teenager or that co-worker or family member that you’ve given up hope on ever seeing some kind of change. But before you write that person off, first check yourself. What has been your approach to this person? Have you been using the same approach for several months or even years? One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This applies to raising kids, mentoring new believers or witnessing to a neighbor, co-worker, or family member. If the approach you’ve been using hasn’t produced any fruit, then it’s time to try a new angle. Take Paul’s approach (which he learned from Jesus by the way) and see how you can become more like the person you’re trying to reach. Step out of your world and into theirs and try to gain their perspective. Then, you just might gain the insight you need to connect with that person and see them come to the Lord, or resolve your conflict, or whatever the case may be.
Again, don’t give up hope on someone because they don’t see things your way. Instead, pray for wisdom and try a new angle.