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Jim Elliff has a helpful article on how he approaches his local culture by the means of hanging out. Taking his lead from the life of Jesus, Elliff seeks to live his life openly in the public places that he often congregates. His practice of and thinking about how he spends his time with others lead him to exhort us all to follow a few guidelines when considering how we can live out the gospel with others:

1. Find a hanging out place, or several, in your area. This will be easier for some than others. I’ve even spent some time in the local hamburger place. For most this will have to be early in the morning before work, but others may be able to invest a bit more. The morning usually attracts the “regulars” that you will be best able to connect with.
2. Learn the names of the people you meet. It is good to jot their names down somewhere for reference.
3. Take your Bible and spend time reading it, writing notes in your notebook, or reading a good Christian book while out.
4. Keep a friendly, approachable look about you. Speak to people. Introduce yourself and find out about them. Focus much of your talk on them. They’ll also be curious about you.
5. Seek to get to the layer of philosophical talk. What do these new friends believe about important issues of life and death? This makes for deeper and more significant relationships.
6. You will find that they will be curious about you and your beliefs also. Talk freely about what you believe and how you approach life.
7. Make friends, real friends, who will be important to you no matter what their spiritual preferences are. Love them for who they are.
8. If you have read something interesting that you can pass on, by all means do so, especially if it has something to do with the true love of your life, Jesus Christ.
9. Expect God to do something. Christians make a difference! You might help a fellow believer or a person who does not have a spiritual bone in his body. You never know what God may be doing. The world reacts and responds to “lighted” Christians.

HT: Joe Thorn