Today has been one of those ‘interesting’ days that I encounter now and again as a lonesome pioneer being around and available. It seemed that every place I went today I met someone with whom I had some connection and who wanted to talk or share something. It has certainly reminded me today how privileged I am to be doing what I do and the specialness of days like today.
Today people have shared stuff that has been deep and personal. People have shared concerns, dreams, hurts and struggles. People have shown interest in the idea of churches in accessible places where they would not feel out of place.
The most challenging and biting comment today was something like ‘I really wish I could believe in a God. It would give me some security in my life. I really wish I could believe but I can’t.’ With such an opportunity there are a variety of responses … to try and answer all the questions there and then in case you never ever meet again …. or to smile, talk a little, ask if you can come back again, and commit to keeping the conversation and contact going.
I sensed God saying the latter was appropriate here and that living as a Christian and modelling faith was going to be more helpful to the person than simple ‘proofs’ and apologetics. I think in this way I am trusting God with this person rathe than fooling myself into thinking I have all the answers.
I have come to see that it is very tempting, and quite easy, to answer questions that people are not asking and to ignore the ones that they are. We teach things like ‘God gave us two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we talk’ …. but I’m not sure that very valid teaching point has really embedded itself in our lives yet!
I think i’m being reminded again that I don’t control or decide what happens here … God does. My task, though, as I blogged here is to wonder about the next step …
Reblogged this on matt's musings .
Sounds like a great day! That’s the kind of comment I guess most of us dream of hearing and when we do, possibly are unprepared as how to answer for the exact reasons you mention. I love that God urged you to rather continue the conversation rather than unpack everything in “10 Easy Steps to Believing” type of thing which has been typical in the past. They will definitely know that you are interested in them as a person and not just getting them to believe what you believe. Enjoy this new conversation, am sure it’s going to be very exciting.
‘Living as a Christian and modelling faith; is exactly what is needed. To engage in the way that you have with this person is exactly what the church must do. As Christians we have a wonderful story to tell, we can talk about why we believe, we can offer apologetics, but as is clearly the case, not everyone else does, and we must afford those individuals in our local community, the time, the space and the listening ear to help them understand more. There is a real need for mission in the local community, where God can be seen and heard through the work of Ministers such as yourself. It is a brave thing that you do, and I pray that God will call on others to do more of this work on a local basis.
thank you …. one thing i love about the blog world is the level of encouragement that comes from people like yourselves
thank you loads … I can’t really express how truly encouraged I feel right now by your taking the time to write 🙂