Be Approachable

Jesus seemed to have people approach him all the time from all sorts of backgrounds and demographics. From the religious elite to prostitutes to military officials to foreigners to children, and everyone in between, they all found a sense of belonging in His presence. This didn’t meant that he didn’t say difficult things to them–especially the Pharisees, who were on the receiving end of many of Christ’s harshest words–but that He still embodied a hospitality that communicated “you can be with me.” They could talk with Him, ask questions, and find grace (if they were willing to receive it).

Maybe that’s why He was given the name Emmanuel (God with us).

Jud Wilhite puts it this way in his book, Uncensored Grace:

As the most spiritually mature person to ever live, Jesus stands as the model for what a spiritual life looks like. He remained approachable to outsiders and the hurting. His life reveals that the more spiritually mature I am, the more approachable I am to people who feel far from God. As spiritual maturity increases, approachability increases.

Don’t equate approachability with “being nice.” The cultural quality of niceness has less to do with Jesus and more to do with moralism; it’s almost Christian. Approachability instead has to with recognizing how much grace I’ve been given in Christ, and allowing that grace to spill over in my attitude, tone, and demeanor to anyone and everyone around me.

The opposite of approachable is inaccessible and intimidating. The irony of approachability is that it often requires me to approach others, to welcome them and begin the conversation

Am I approachable to those around me? Do I have compassion, empathy, and patience for those who are hurting or in need? And is that compassion clearly evident to others, especially those who are different than me?

Previous articleWhat Should We Be Doing in Youth Ministry?
Next articleSeparation Anxiety'
Joel Mayward is a pastor, writer, youth worker, and film critic. The author of three books, he has written for numerous ministry publications, including Christianity Today, Christ and Pop Culture, Leadership Journal, YouthWorker Journal, Immerse Journal, The Youth Cartel, and LeaderTreks. You can read his musings on film, theology, and culture at his personal blog, For his film reviews and essays, check out Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelmayward.