Dan Kimball provides an excellent diagram of a typical reality: the longer we are Christians the fewer non-Christians we are around:
Kimball says: "The irony is that we are on a mission for Jesus, but the more older and mature we become as Christians (and hopefully wiser), the less non-Christians then get to see and experience Jesus in us. I am talking about actual relationships and friendships where trust and dialogue are built with people who get to know us personally, not just street witnessing type of a thing to strangers.
Instead of only circling in closer with all Christians as we get older and more mature in our faith, shouldn't it almost be the opposite as we grow older? Of course, provided we maintain Christian community in the midst of being on a mission for Jesus, as we all need Christian community. But it seems ironic that when we mature and know Scripture better, and Jesus better and are transformed all the more by the Spirit - that less and less non-Christians get to really experience that through relationships with us since we are more and more entrenched in the Christian sub-culture."
This is incredibly true... and incredibly sad... and incredibly upside down.
Neil Cole, Organic Church, suggests that, like any missionary, we need to identify a pocket of people who do not have a vital Kingdom witness and then enter into relationship with those people. Thus, we intentionally develop new oikos connections with non-Christians. I know this sounds easier then it is, but it has been my own personal prayer-longing to do just that over the past year or so. I am not trying to "target" people and go after them. Rather, it's about deliberately reversing the trend in my own life, of over 20 years, of self-entrenchment into the Christian sub-culture "compound" and attempt to "come out" and live life fully and relationally in the world.
How is this going for others?