I often find myself defeated before I open my mouth when it comes to inviting folks to anything “religious” in nature. I play mental chess, a futile exercise in which I invariably am beaten by the fourth move.
“They don’t want to hear this! They have ALREADY heard it. Isn’t this somewhat self-serving, PASTOR Chris! Live and let live. Move along…no story here!”
Yet, I am learning to press through these subtle but insidious lies.
Not everyone knows. Not everyone has heard.
In fact, most people desparately want AND need what Jesus is serving up. So in order to win a few matches, I remind myself that there are three types of folks:
They are those who Don’t Know
Used to Know and
Want to Know.
My mission, should I decide to accept it, is to find out which one you are!
There is a growing number of folks in the Don’t Know camp. The rise of relativism and post-modernism has helped to foster ignorance in our younger generation. Simply put, they don’t know The Story. In the Proverbs, they would be referred to as the Simple. They don’t any better. They haven’t landed yet. They are open to the dialogue. Like or not, however, the Simple will face life head on. They need wisdom. That’s where we come in. Ww have the privilege, and I do mean that, of sharing the Story with them.
There are also those who Used to Know. These are the ones that grew up quickly in the faith, but life happened. They may have gone to VBS, Young Life or walked down the aisle at a crusade. The soil is hardest here. Many in the Used to Know camp don’t want to trust again, then get hurt again. I get it…no patronizing. Genuine compassion and patience required. No fly by invitations; rather authentic Christianity lived out in close proximity can soften the driest ground. I believe they hope to hope again. They NEED to hope again.
Finally, there is the Want to Know camp. We might call them seekers. They are reading, watching and attending various venues that address the deep need of the soul. They are ready to engage. If we are. Rather than anticipating verbal sparring, I choose to overcome by listening and asking questions designed to get the heart of the matter. I believe Christ-like interest in every soul carries the day, more often than not. I love that the Bible ends with the invitation to all who are thirsty…to come and drink of the free water of life! I think everyone is parched, whether they know it or not.
So instead of hearing “Checkmate” in my head, I more often hear “Thank you!” from those I share the Story with. They are so glad to at least know it, whether or not they receive it. And in my heart, I hear the scriptures…“How beautiful are the feet of them that bring Good News.”
May you be encouraged as well, as the Day draws near!