Multiplication Center

When You Meet Resistance

What to Do When People Don't Want to Connect

January 16, 2023

By Shauna Pilgreen

What do you do when people don’t welcome you? When neighbors don’t want to be bothered? When you’re tired from caring? When nothing is working? When you meet resistance?

Not all of our jobs or vocations make it easy to make friends. Imagine when your neighbors find out you’re the police chief, local judge, school superintendent, city council member, insurance adjuster, pastor, or [fill in the blank.] Conversations can shut down quickly and the possibility of building a friendship just came to an abrupt stop.

Who are you first?

  1. You are first and foremost a son or daughter of God, made in His image to do good works which He planned in advance for you to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

  2. You are a citizen of your community. You belong here. You have a job to do. Jesus has called you, sent you, and positioned you. The feelings of resistance and unwelcome might be real, but it cannot be the leading truth.

  3. You are capable of being a person of peace where you live. If Jesus, the Prince of Peace, resides in you, then the peace that passes all human understanding can guard your heart from resistance and can exude peace to those around you. (Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 4:7)

Not everyone feels the same way.

  • Look for other people of peace. Combine efforts with them to pull off something in your neighborhood or community. Together is better.

  • Maybe now is not the time to do something solo. Join in with others at school events and non-profit serving opportunities, not for selfish reasons, but to build connection and let His perfect love cast out fear. (1 John 4:18)

  • Let your position or vocation be an open door to a deeper conversation. This is challenging and comes with the job! Try something like this, “We live here because we want to join you in making this community a safe and peaceful place to live.” You just might get a smile and be able to break the stereotypical mold.

Instead of seeing your job or vocation as a roadblock to ministry, see it as an opportunity.

Change is in your hands. Truth is in your hands. Unlearning is in your hands.

Here are a few go-to lines and ideas to use:

  • Put a sign in your yard that says you care. As a pastor’s family, we made some that say: I call you my neighbor and Love lives on this street. And we make it our aim to live this out.

  • Keep doing random acts of kindness. Do so in the Name of Jesus because He has a way of using them in ways we can’t do on our own and it always goes better this way.

  • Say: I’m going to keep showing up because I care.

  • Say: We do hard things and this definitely includes loving others who don’t love us back or understand us.

You can keep moving forward when you meet resistance.

Three things to try:

  1. Meet with God about it. When they don’t want you to talk to them, talk to God about them for now.

  2. Prayer walk around places of influence. You want your police officer family to be welcomed? Go prayer walk places of resistance. You want your pastor’s kids to be accepted at school, go prayer walk around the schools. You want to see change happen at city hall and in the courthouse, but feel defeated and like you’re swimming upstream? Prayer walk around these places of influence.

  3. Look for signs. “God, give me eyes to see and ears to hear.” Then in boldness and humility, do something with what you see and hear.

Friends, my encouragement and challenge to us all is to not absorb the resistance, but release love in that space and in this place we call home for now. It’s not easy, but we’re not called to easy. We’re called to Jesus who met the greatest resistance – the sin in all of humanity and conquered death to give us His love and freedom to share with others.

This article was originally posted on Shared with permission.


Shauna Pilgreen is an author, church planter, and the Northern California Alpha Network Director. Shauna and her husband Ben, along with their four teens, planted Epic Church 11 years ago in downtown San Francisco. She is the author of the missional book, “Love Where You Live: How to Live Sent in the Place You Call Home,” and her next book on evangelism releases summer of 2023. Shauna considers herself a student of San Francisco culture and a growing disciple of Christ in order to translate his love.

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