Here are resources to help you BLESS the people in your life who do not know Jesus. We are constantly updating this list so check back here often!
BLESS: In Living Color
God’s dream is for every nation, tribe, people, and language to worship before the throne of Christ (Revelation 7:9). It is our privilege to enjoy a foretaste of that destiny now as we choose to go beyond blessing people who are just like us to intentionally blessing people across boundaries of difference. In the process, we will find that we too are challenged, enriched, and blessed.
Written by Michelle Sanchez, BLESS: In Living Color is a free 10-day devotional course on multiethnic evangelism delivered to your inbox daily.
BLESS: In Living Color Sermon Outlines
The Bless: In Living Color sermon outlines are designed to equip your entire church community to engage in holistic, multiethnic evangelism – and also to engage in evangelism across all boundaries of difference. Feel free to tailor these teaching outlines according to your needs!
We invite you to Begin with Prayer by hosting a BLESS Sunday either by or on the Sunday following Easter. We have created resources including small group guides for adults, children, and youth, sermon samples, and prayer videos which can all be found in the BLESS Resources section.
How to host a BLESS Sunday
- Order free BLESS bulletin inserts online at Covbooks.com where you can order the Begin with Prayer bulletin or bulletins for the full BLESS series. Available in Spanish and English.
- Invite church attendees to list names in the Begin with Prayer bulletin insert. For attendees participating virtually, we have a virtual option Here >>
- The list of names should be identical on both bookmarks. Church attendees keep one for themselves. Invite attendees to place the other in an offering basket.
- Pray over the BLESS bookmarks together as a church.
What to Do with Your Bookmarks
After you host a BLESS Sunday, we invite you to bring your bookmarks to your conference annual meeting, or mail them to the conference office. The bookmarks will then be brought to Gather, where we will host a BLESS ceremony and pray over all names together as a denomination.
Missional Practice Resources
Select a missional practice below for ideas, inspiration, and recommended reading.
Resources to Begin with Prayer
Collaborate with the Holy Spirit instead of trying to do it on your own.
Write a short list of people whom you long to see commit to faith in Christ. Place the list inside your Bible, on your dashboard, or on a note in your cell phone. Commit to start every day with prayer asking God to use you to bless someone in your world who does not know him. Not sure what to pray? Here are some ideas:
- Pray that ___________ will become thirsty for God (John 7:37-39).
- Pray that the Father will draw ________ to Jesus (John 6:44-45)
- Pray that ___________ will become open to God’s truth (2 Corinthians 4:4-6).
- Pray that _____ will become receptive to God’s grace (Romans 3:23-24; Titus 3:4-7).
- Prayer for _____’s heartfelt conviction of sin and their need for God (John 16:8-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5)
- Pray for ______ to take genuine steps of repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).
- Pray that _____will clearly experience God’s love (1 John 4:7-10, 19-21).
- Pray that _______ will develop a heartfelt and willful belief and acceptance of Jesus as King and Lord (John 10: 27-30)
- Pray for ______to develop deep spiritual rootedness in Christ (John 15:5; Colossians 2:6-7).
- Pray for _______ to reproduce God’s mission to others who are far from God (Matthew 28:18-20).
10 DAILY PRAYERS TO BOOST YOUR OUTREACH
By Kevin Harney, Outreach Magazine
Sharing the love and grace of Jesus with the world is the call of every Christian.Young or old, bold or shy, new believer or long-time follower of Jesus—we are all called to tell the story of the Savior and show people that he is alive.We are partners in God’s work of bringing the message of hope to the world. Yet we always remember that we are not the senior partner—God is!
The Apostle Paul made clear that we have the privilege of scattering seed and watering it, but Only God can change lives, forgive sins, save and transform us (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). To be effective in scattering the seed of the gospel of Jesus, we must keep things in their proper perspective.
RED MOON RISING: HOW 24/7 PRAYER IS AWAKENING A GENERATION
By Pete Greig and Dave Roberts
The 24/7 prayer movement is catalyzing a new generation to pray, obey, and engage people who are far from God with the mission of Jesus like never before. This is the extraordinary story of a movement that started more than fifteen years when a handful of students started a prayer vigil in England. And the prayers they started then haven’t stopped. The movement spread throughout the globe and has fueled the transformation of thousands of young adults by God’s Spirit.
(IM)POSSIBLE: DISCOVER THE JOY OF A PRAYER, CARE, SHARE LIFE
By Lon Allison
Lon Allison, former director of evangelism in the Covenant, shares his evangelism approach: prayer, care, and share. This book will inspire and persuade you to engage in a life of personal witness for Jesus Christ. Offering years of personal experience, Allison clarifies and simplifies the witnessing life. Embrace new attitudes as you begin the journey of a lifetime. Once you begin to pray regularly for unbelievers and your life of witness, your compassion increases. As your compassion increases, you gain power over the fear that paralyzes many from sharing their faith with others. Now’s the time to dare–what are you waiting for? You were made for this.
Resources to Listen with Care
If you want to be a good listener, think of yourself as someone who comes alongside another person – not to give advice, but to learn the other person’s real story.
THE 9 ARTS OF SPIRITUAL CONVERSATIONS: WALKING ALONGSIDE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE DIFFERENTLY
By Mary Shallar and John Crilly
Love God, love people. Could evangelism really be that simple? Often it doesn’t seem so. It can feel scary, awkward, and uncomfortable as we try to navigate loaded questions and different perspectives. Even the most faithful of believers sometimes get stumped. But what if we as Christians simply spent time with people who are far from God and provided a safe place to talk about spiritual matters? What if we listened to them and discovered what was really important to them? After all, it’s what Jesus did. And it’s what you can do too.
QUESTIONING EVANGELISM: ENGAGING PEOPLE’S HEARTS THE WAY JESUS DID
By Randy Newman
A much-needed look at sharing Christ with unbelievers, not based on guerrilla hard-sell tactics but on engaging questions and caring interaction. Filled with humor and stories, this book provides a challenging yet encouraging look at evangelism in our world today. Newman suggests that asking questions and starting meaningful conversations is a far better method for sharing faith than prepared lectures or statements. He also offers advice on what people need to hear in response to the world around them.
Resources to Eat Together
Sharing meals together on a regular basis is one of the most sacred practices we can engage in as believers. Through the simple act of eating together, we practice hospitality, build community, and deepen relationships.
Here are some ways you can eat with people who do not know God:
- Have dinner together in your home or at 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.
- Throw a small dinner party.
- Join with another couple to connect friends to friends.
- Create an affinity group
- Teach someone how to cook.
- Share a holiday meal.
- Attend their party or event.
THE ART OF NEIGHBORING: BUILDING GENUINE RELATIONSHIPS RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR
By Jay Pathak, Dave Runyon, and Randy Frazee
When Jesus was asked to sum up everything into one command, he said to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Most of us have turned this simple idea of loving our neighbors into a nice saying, putting it on bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets–and then going on with our lives without actually putting it into practice. What would happen if every follower of Jesus took the Great Commandment literally? Is it possible that the solution to our society’s biggest issues has been right under our noses for the past two thousand years?
NEXT DOOR AS IT IS IN HEAVEN: LIVING OUT GOD’S KINGDOM IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
By Lance Ford and Brad Brisco
There was a time when neighbors knew each other’s names, when small children and the older people had more than their families looking out for them. There was a time when our neighborhoods were our closest communities. But today neighborhoods have become the place where nobody knows your name. Into this neighborhood crisis the words of Jesus still ring true: Second only to the command to love God is the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” In Next Door as It Is in Heaven, Lance Ford and Brad Brisco offer first principles and best practices to make our neighborhoods into places where compassion and care are once again part of the culture, where good news is more than words, and where the love of God can be once again rooted and established.
A MEAL WITH JESUS: DISCOVERING GRACE, COMMUNITY, AND MISSION AROUND THE TABLE
By Tim Chester
The meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook. Tim Chester brings to light God’s purposes in the seemingly ordinary act of sharing a meal—how this everyday experience is really an opportunity for grace, community, and mission. Chester challenges contemporary understandings of hospitality as he urges us to evaluate who we invite to our table and why. Learn how you can foster grace and bless others through the rich fare being served in A Meal with Jesus.
Resources to Serve With Love
I think young people are tired of not living out their faith, and so they are trying to find real ways to care for the poor because they see that as being essential to Jesus’ teaching.
—Brad Edwards, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them
Make a list of the opportunities you have to serve the 3-5 people in your life you are praying for. Which act of service will you do this week? How can you fit that act into your schedule? What do you need to eliminate from your life in order to serve others in love?
Some ways to serve the people in your life who do not know God
- Serve through small acts of kindness.
- Volunteer to take care of a tangible need (cook a meal, babysit, shovel snow, etc.)
- Make their birthday special.
- Send a greeting card.
- Join a community service project with someone who is journeying toward God.
- Offer to pray.
- Keep them company.
- Give or lend something.
- Don’t miss the big needs – Births, deaths, trials, sickness, and more.
- When you Listen to people and Eat with them, they will tell you how to love them.
Ways to allow others to reciprocate and in turn serve you
- Accept invitations (dinner, parties, etc.) and offers of help.
- Share your needs with your neighbors openly.
- Be generous with your gratitude.
EVERYDAY CHURCH: GOSPEL COMMUNITIES ON MISSION
By Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
We live in an increasingly post-Christian culture as fewer people ever attend church. What used to work doesn’t work anymore and we need to adapt. Helping us to see the way forward, Everyday Church offers practical ideas and personal stories for engaging with our culture. Find out how to effectively reach people in the context of everyday life and take hold of the opportunity to develop missional communities focused on Jesus.
THE WORLD IS NOT OURS TO SAVE: FINDING THE FREEDOM TO DO GOOD
By Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
We want to save the world―and we have a dizzying array of worthy causes to pursue. But passionate enthusiasm can quickly give way to disillusionment, compassion fatigue, or empty slacktivism―and liking Facebook pages only goes so far. Veteran activist Tyler Wigg-Stevenson identifies the practical and spiritual pitfalls that threaten much of today’s cause-driven Christianity. He casts an alternate vision for doing good based on the liberating truth that only God can save the world. Wigg-Stevenson’s own pilgrimage from causes to calling shows how to ground an enduring, kingdom-oriented activism in the stillness of vocation rather than in the anxiety of the world’s brokenness. The world is not ours to save. And that’s okay. Discover why.
THE JONATHAN EFFECT: HELPING KIDS AND SCHOOLS WIN THE BATTLE AGAINST POVERTY
By Mike Tenbusch
America may be called the “land of opportunity,” but countless kids and teens are struggling like young Davids in the urban wilderness, attempting to fight the giant of poverty under insurmountable odds. What could make a difference? The presence of a “Jonathan” in their lives to offer the life-giving support they need to survive and thrive. The church is the best source of these Jonathans as they partner with local schools and provide struggling young people with the relational connections that can help them overcome their circumstances. It’s a strategy that works, as author Mike Tenbusch demonstrates through his own inspiring story. A Detroit native and longtime advocate for youth education, he brings you into the classrooms of the toughest schools in America so you can see firsthand the hardships of surviving as a child in these settings. If you have ever wondered how you or your church can be a part of the solution to the challenge of extreme poverty, this book will inspire you to take action.
SLOW KINGDOM COMING: PRACTICES FOR DOING JUSTICE, LOVING MERCY AND WALKING HUMBLY IN THE WORLD
By Kent Annan
No one said pursuing justice would be easy. The road can be so challenging and the destination so distant that you may be discouraged by a lack of progress, compassion, or commitment in your quest for justice. How do you stay committed to the journey when God’s kingdom can seem so slow in coming? Kent Annan understands the struggle of working for justice over the long haul. He confesses, “Over the past twenty years, I’ve succumbed to various failed shortcuts instead of living the freedom of faithful practices.” In this book, he shares practices he has learned that will encourage and help you to keep making a difference in the face of the world’s challenging issues. All Christians are called to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in the world. Slow Kingdom Coming will guide and strengthen you on this journey to persevere until God’s kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.
THE JUSTICE CALLING: WHERE PASSION MEETS PERSEVERANCE
By Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson
Justice requires a deep perseverance that we can’t muster on our own. The world’s needs are staggering and even the most passion-driven reactions, strategies, and good intentions can falter. But we serve a God who never falters, who sees the needs, hears the cries, and gives strength–through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit–to his people.
Offering a comprehensive biblical theology of justice drawn from the whole story of Scripture, this book invites us to know more intimately the God who loves justice and calls us to give our lives to seek the flourishing of others. The authors explore stories of injustice around the globe today and spur Christians to root their passion for justice in the persevering hope of Christ. They also offer practices that can further form us into people who join God’s work of setting things right in the world.
POSSIBLE: A BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGING HOW WE CHANGE THE WORLD
By Stephan Bauman
We need a better vision for saving the world. Across the world, people are rising up to fight poverty, oppression, and injustice—not just professionals, but bloggers, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists, and advocates. People who refuse to accept the world as it is, who dare to believe change is possible.
But we face a crisis of vision. We sense what needs to be done, but often we don’t know how to do it. Stephan Bauman, president of World Relief, believes true change begins in the hearts and actions of ordinary people. In Possible, he presents clear and biblical thinking, powerful stories, and practical tools for sustainably impacting our workplaces, neighborhoods, villages, and cities.
When in your life was God most real to you? When has your encounter with Jesus been most influential? When have you most connected to the reality of the spiritual side of life? That’s your crucial story to learn to share. That’s the story that will be most relevant for you as a guide to others in their spiritual journey.
–Rick Richardson, Reimagining Evangelism: Inviting Friends on a Spiritual Journey
Some ways to serve the people in your life who do not know God:
- Ask for permission and don’t be pushy. “Would you mind if I tell you a little about a way God has changed my life?”
- Be clear and use common language. Try to avoid “church” language. Words like, “born again,” “Savior,” “redemption,” “grace,” “accepting Jesus,” etc., are beautiful and meaningful to Christians but have little or no meaning to people outside the church.
- Keep it short. Share more as it becomes appropriate. Keep it to two minutes or less. If you want to write it out, 100 words is a good length.
- Be humble and focus on what God did. “Look at what God did in my life!”
- Use a before-and-after pattern. How did God change you?
- Focus on Jesus as the source of change.
- Tell your story with joy and passion.
- Tell a story from your life that connects with their life.
REIMAGINING EVANGELISM: INVITING FRIENDS ON A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
By Rick Richardson
Sometimes talking about Jesus with your friends can feel like trying to close a deal on a sales call, pushing something on people they may not really want. But what if you thought of it more like inviting them on a spiritual journey? Imagine being free to be yourself and free for the Spirit to work in you. Imagine that it doesn’t depend on you alone but that you can be an important part of a witnessing community. Imagine telling people stories instead of trying to download content. Here is your invitation to reimagine what evangelism could be for you.
I ONCE WAS LOST: WHAT POSTMODERN SKEPTICS TAUGHT US ABOUT THEIR PATH TO JESUS
By Don Everts and Doug Schaupp
How do people come to Jesus in today’s postmodern culture? Not by a mechanical, linear process of cookie cutter conversions.Nor by a nebulous spiritual wandering that never culminates in decision or commitment. Over the last decade, Don Everts and Doug Schaupp have listened to the stories of two thousand postmodern people who have come to follow Jesus. While their stories are diverse and varied, certain common themes emerge. Postmodern evangelism is a mysterious and organic process that nevertheless goes through discernible phases, as people cross thresholds from distrust to trust, from complacency to curiosity, and from meandering to seeking. Everts and Schaupp describe the factors that influence how people shift in their perspectives and become open to the gospel. They provide practical tools to help people enter the kingdom, as well as guidelines for how new believers can live out their Christian faith.
THE TRUE STORY: A CHRISTIANITY WORTH BELIEVING IN
By James Choung
“Christianity seems like just another screwed-up religion’” Anna said. “Seriously, what has Christianity done for us–or for the world, for that matter? They’re just a bunch of hypocrites, that’s what I think! Are they good for anything?” “I don’t know, Anna,” Caleb said. “I just don’t know.” Caleb has been a Christian for a long time. But he realizes that he can’t bring himself to share his faith with anyone because it doesn’t sound like good news anymore. Christianity’s truth claims can come across as hollow. Arrogant, and intolerant. Christians have a bad track record of hating and condemning those they disagree with. Worst of all, it feels like Christianity is just about “saving souls,” giving people an escape ticket to heaven while the world falls apart. Is it only about Jesus forgiving our sins? There must be more to it than that. In this engaging narrative, James Choung, national director of evangelism for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, draws on intergenerational theory and his decades of work in student ministry to identify what’s important to young people about the gospel. Boomers ask if it’s true, Gen-Xers ask if it’s real, and millennials ask if it’s good. Get past the old clichés and simplistic formulas. And discover a new way of understanding and presenting the Christian faith that really matters in a broken world.
BEAUTIFUL FEET: UNLEASHING WOMEN TO EVERYDAY WITNESS
By Jessica Leep Flick
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15). Sometimes women feel like we’re not cut out for evangelism. We may worry that we will seem awkward or pushy. We can feel insecure, like what we do won’t make a difference in leading people to Jesus. Evangelist Jessica Leep Fick believes that God has created women to go to amazing and ordinary places to share his love. We have aptitudes and abilities that God can use in his mission, like gifts of collaboration, empathy and the ability to share vulnerably. Women throughout Scripture were heralds of the gospel, and we can be too. Get ready to join Jessica and women across the globe on this adventure of sharing Jesus with confidence and love. This upbeat, motivating guide will unleash what God has created in you to boldly and lovingly share Jesus. Discover how you too have beautiful feet.
GROWING YOUR FAITH BY GIVING IT AWAY: TELLING THE GOSPEL STORY WITH GRACE AND PASSION
By R. York Moore
Sometimes the Christian life seems to lose its zip. We fall into a spiritual rut and wonder why our faith seems so dead. Maybe it’s because faith stagnates when it’s kept to yourself. When you share it with others, the Holy Spirit energizes you and awakens you to experience life as God intended. Ordinary people can participate in extraordinary encounters when we follow God’s leading to people who need to hear about Jesus. York Moore describes the adventure God has taken him on to share the gospel with people in every sphere of life—family members and coworkers, friends and strangers, people he didn’t like and people who didn’t like him. Through his stories, we glimpse the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us even when we don’t have a clue what to say or do.
ORGANIC OUTREACH FOR ORDINARY PEOPLE: SHARING GOOD NEWS NATURALLY
By Kevin G. Harney
Every follower of Jesus has a sincere desire to share God’s love with others. We want to tell friends and family about who Jesus is, what he means to us, and all he has done f or them. Deep in our hearts we have a burning passion to pass on the good news we have received. But where do we start? We want to share our faith, but we don’t want it to feel awkward, uncomfortable, or unnatural—for them or for us. Organic Outreach for Ordinary People will help you shape a personal approach to passing on the good news of Jesus in natural ways. This is not a system or a program. It’s a collection of biblical practices that you can incorporate into your life starting today. You can begin right where God has placed you. You can share the love and message of Jesus in a way that fits exactly how God has wired you. In this practical and easy-to-read book, Kevin Harney offers the tools needed to reach out with God’s love in organic ways. In these pages you will discover that sharing the good news of Jesus can be as natural as talking about your favorite sports team or telling a friend about a wonderful new restaurant. On the golf course, over coffee, while taking a walk-anywhere and everywhere-become a bearer of grace. Share the amazing love of God.Tell the life-changing story of Jesus. Discover ordinary ways to communicate God’s love and the message of salvation-naturally.