Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Preach the gospel... how??

As many of you know, I work part time at a Video Store near my house, basically to keep bringing in the money to allow me to give as much time to the church and run the youth ministry as possible. It's a great environment which as well as gives me as many free movies as I like, gives me time to hang out with people my own age in the same area.

Today, as I was selling lotto to a customer - as any good youth pastor does, I heard this man yelling at the top of his lungs on the side of the road holding a bible in hand.

I groaned. 

I looked at the customer who I was so professionally serving who had obviously heard him at the same time as I did and it was pretty obvious what he was thinking.

I watched for roughly 9 or 10 minutes as customers one by one walked into the store responding in 1 of 2 ways: walking in with a crinkled brow clearly showing their confusion and/or frustration, or walking towards the counter shaking their head in disgust.

I took the opportunity to carefully not bag him but to unbiasly ask various customers what they thought of the way the guy was sharing his message. Precisely 100% of them in one way or another made it clear that either the guy was a loony or wasn't even worth talking about.

Clearly, this was not working out the best.

Really, to cut a possibly long blog post short, I am increasing thinking about the way in which we represent Jesus to this generation and the most amazing message of all time to people.

This was a prime example to me of how I wouldn't do it. 

To clarify, I don't usually have a big issue with open air campaigners such as people like Ray Comfort (who by the way is my good friend's uncle) because of their desire to ask people questions and to have good, personal discussions with people, but, I do have an issue with people who belt at the top of their lungs the "turn or burn message".

I mean really, are we turning more people away from Jesus than turning people to him in the way we present the message of Christ?

Are we speaking the truth in love and not just plainly, bluntly and forcefully speaking the 'truth'?

Are we speaking to people in a way that values them as a person loved and desired by God no matter what their personal beliefs or attitudes are?

I don't know how many people are out there really trying to do it this way but I do think it is a problem. We're called as Christians in 1 Cor to be the "Aroma of Christ" to people. Do we smell attractive or do we repel people with bad B.O.?

Just some mind stuff to think about..... what are you thoughts?

1 comment:

Peter Murray said...

After finding out what the people escaping from the street preacher thought of him, your next question to ask could be "So what would be an effective way to reach you with the gospel message?" or "What would God need to do to reach you?" or something similar. And then make it happen (prayer might be required).

We had an atheistic friend years ago who came to faith because we challenged her to ask God to do something that only He could do for her. He did and then she had no choice but to believe he existed.