Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of M. Tsering's new book, Jesus in a New Age, Dalai Lama World (Defending and Sharing Christ with Buddhists), (Interserve USA, 2007).

 

The Buddhist worldview is so vastly different from the Christian faith that even a basic concept like a loving God who interacts with people is foreign to Buddhists.  But it’s possible to reach out to Buddhists with Christ’s good news if you do so in ways they’ll understand and appreciate.

 

Here’s how you can share your faith with Buddhists:

 

* Build meaningful friendships. Invest the time and energy necessary to develop genuine friendships with Buddhists you know. Get to know them well. Let go of the time-pressured, task-oriented Western culture’s philosophy and seek to enjoy your time with Buddhists without hurrying or feeling as if you have to accomplish something while you’re together. Become a person who your Buddhist friends trust.

 

* Help with practical needs. Work either as an individual or with others in your church to help meet the needs of people in your local Buddhist community. Ask those in the community what they need and try to meet those needs, rather than simply offering something without first checking to see if it’s what they truly desire. Consider starting or supporting programs to help with childcare, job training, English language skills, or anything else that’s needed. Allow your Buddhist friends to help you, too, and express your appreciation to them.

 

* Invite them to celebrate a holiday with you. Include your Buddhist friends when you celebrate Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, or another holiday with a meal, party, or other special event. Use that experience to explain why the holiday is important to you and how it relates to your faith.

 

* Learn as much as you can about Buddhism before sharing Christianity. Educate yourself on at least the basics of what Buddhists believe – and why – before attempting to engage them in discussions of spiritual issues. Know that it’s crucial to understand where they’re coming from before explaining your own views. Be humble. Remember that God loves them as much as He does you and that it’s only His grace that has enabled you to come to faith before them.