Not Like Me

by Lon on August 5, 2010

in Books,Culture

Not Like Me - Book - Eric Bryant

Not Like Me: A Field Guide for Influencing a Diverse World helps people of faith effectively love, serve, and reach people overlooked by the church.

Not Like Me includes a brief article after each chapter with practical ways to apply the principles presented in that chapter.

The contributors include:  Ed StetzerAmena BrownMargaret FeinbergKevin HarneyDr. Gerardo MartiKim MartinezLon WongMark DeYmazPrincess ZuluDan Kimball, and Erwin McManus (Foreword).

Wait.  Did you catch that?  The 7th name in.  That’s me!

From what I can tell, I’m the only one listed who’s not a Christian celebrity, nor has a book, nor is a princess.

Talk about people ‘not like me‘.  Eric Bryant of Mosaic knows how to mix it up!

You can find a previous post I wrote of his original book – Peppermint-filled pinatas. I’ve also got a relatively updated compilation of more Mosaic Resources

You can also find out a lot more at the official Not Like Me website that just launched.

UPDATE: Exclusive Q&A with Eric Bryant

What would you say to Christians who already feel relationally saturated with ‘Christian’ friendships?

That is a great question that we actually address to everyone who joins our volunteer staff at Mosaic. One of the commitments we ask our volunteer staff at Mosaic to make includes investing in people who do not follow Jesus. Erwin has suggested that to pull this off we should let the most popular friend we have that follows Jesus know that we are adjusting our priorities and that he or she is no longer one of them. He goes on to say that this popular friend will be fine since he or she already has so many other friendships. I suggest that we eliminate time with our least favorite Christian friend. :)

Although we are both joking to make our point, in reality, we have to be very intentional if we are going to develop meaningful relationships with people who do not look like us, believe like us, or share the same moral code as us. Our human nature seems to draw us towards people who are just like us.

If I’m someone who genuinely wants to reach out to someone ‘not like me’ but doesn’t know how, what are some simple steps I might be able to take today?

Some simple steps to take include taking a relational audit of our lives. Consider how you spend your free time at work or at home. Do you include people who do not share your faith when it comes to your hobbies, your projects at work, or even in your ministry arena? If not, who do you know already that would be interested in spending time together that you have too often overlooked?

For me, I looked to be involved in areas I’m already interested in with people who do not follow Jesus. For example, rather than a Christian baseball team for my son, I helped coach in the local little league. Rather than go to a Christian theater company, my daughter sings and dances with a local group that has no religious affiliation. Although I perform stand up comedy in a church or at a Christian conference every once in a while, most of the time I’m performing with my friends in local cafes and clubs.

Look for ways to develop natural and meaningful relationships with people who not only don’t go to your church, but don’t go to church at all. The goal isn’t to find someone who becomes our project, but to befriend the people already around us rather than hide from the world with people who are just like us.

What are your thoughts on critics who say hanging out with people not like us, will cause us to become like them?

We have confused the ideas of being “set apart” and “sent out.” We are supposed to be “set apart” in our behavior and “sent out” into relationships. Too often we do the opposite. We are “set apart” from people and our behavior looks no different than the world.

Obviously we need to be wise in how we spend our time. I wouldn’t encourage an alcoholic to go back to the bars to spend time with his old friends, but I would encourage him to invite his friend over for dinner or to get together in a better environment.

Most of us are not really concerned about falling into an area of struggle when we use that as an excuse for hiding from the world. In my life, when that mindset has crept in, it was because I was lazy & not willing to be the person God was calling me to be.

What’s it really like working with Erwin? Would you trade hair styles with him if you could?

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Erwin. He challenges me by the way he takes risks and makes such courageous choices in his life and as our pastor at Mosaic. More than anything he is a true friend who loves God, his family, and his community. He is a genuine person who is making a real impact in people’s lives. I’m enjoying the adventure of being on this team together – even if he does make fun of my bald head! :)

And no, I wouldn’t trade hairstyles with him. Black hair would contrast too much with my fair skin. :)

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