Breaking the ice

One of my job descriptions at the church is to foster outreach among our members. I’m only one person so I can only reach (at the most) as many as one person can reach. Far more productive would be members desiring to reach friends, neighbors, and co-workers. So I’ve encouraged many our members at Hope to begin to build deeper relationships with such people; in other words, I’ve asked people to simply make some more friends with folks who don’t have a church home.

As relationships are formed, conversations regarding things more important than football or fishing will eventually come up unprovoked. They will come up naturally. And that is the ‘pitch’ I’ve been ‘selling.’

I’ve become good friends with a guy I met working out one day. We now workout together several times a week. But up until last week, we had never really had any ‘spiritual’ conversation. It just hadn’t happened, and I was beginning to wonder why nothing had happened; I was questioning my own sales pitch.

However last week that all changed, and he brought it up. We got to talk about some meaningful stuff. Church, protestant/Catholic questions, books read, spiritual background, etc… I prayed regularly for opportunities and after 6 months or so, just a month before he’ll be leaving the state to take another job, the ice finally cracked. I was stoked.

At the very least I made a friend: a friend who will probably be coming to church to hear me preach. Hopefully we’ll get some more chances to talk. But regardless, making friends with unbelievers will put us in opportunities where we’ll eventually be used to express the truth. It may take a while, but it will happen if we pray and put ourselves in such situations.

4 thoughts on “Breaking the ice

  1. I think we need to remember that ultimately we are not the ones who reach people. Christ is the one who reaches them, if he chooses, and he reaches them in the exact same way he reached us.Through the Gospel we have the gift of not having to worry about whether or not we said the right things or said the wrong things or didn’t love them enough or loved them too much. Just like there is no “thing” we can do or do better to secure our salvation, there is no “thing” we can do to secure the salvation of others. Christ has the “thing” and he has the power. He is the one who chooses, He choose you, He choose me, and He will chose those we love and those we hate. We don’t have a say. But He blessed us with a part.Let go and let God.

  2. Anonymous,I think it is important to realize that Christ is the one who ‘reaches’ people. No arguments here. But there is nothing in the post which challenges that thought.Some people emphasize too much what WE do (like myself and get overly frustrated). Some people over-stress the Sovereignty of God and disobey the command to love our neighbors (hyper-Calvinism). The pendulum is constantly swinging, and everyone needs to know where he/she tends to land. Sometimes I needed to be reminded of responsibility. Sometimes I needed to be reminded of Sovereignty.However, I will never be comfortable with the language (and it might be semantics, I’m not sure) “let go and let God.” Paul longed for the salvation of his countrymen (Rom 9). Jesus said to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers (Matt 9), and he did tell the disciples to go (Matt 28;Acts 1), even though they didn’t for a while.None of the above seem to me consistent with the “let go and let God” mentality. Whether active in loving others, or active in praying, nothing is passive. Letting go and letting God seems ‘hyper-Calvinistic’ to me.

  3. Geoff,The “let go and let God” comment was an after thought not a fore thought. I heard the phrase once and had never had an opportunity to use it. It pushed my post a bit further right than I actually stand but that was my intention. I also left out lots on purpose. So here is some more.I have seen you use the word “job” and “responsibility” here and before and it makes me uncomfortable. It breaks my heart that there is the slightest chance that you may not fully enjoy the blessing that is the act of ministry. I say this knowing full well that you experience it.Once it sunk in that Christ is the one who saves fully and completely, my view of my ministry (which I will admit is not much) changed entirely. Imagine Balki from “Perfect Strangers” being cast in a supporting role for the next Scorsese movie, thats how I feel. I’ve been cast by a director that knows exactly what he is doing and has chosen me to play a role in the best story ever. I also, however, feel this massive debt because even through my missions more has been done for me than I will ever be able to do for God or for those I love. The amount that my spirit has been refreshed by the people I have tried to reach is unmeasurable. That is our blessing of ministry and one I pray everyone could wallow in.I hope you like the nickname and I wont leave you with the same kind of sign off, so here’s this,No sleep ’til Brooklyn!

  4. Balki,We could go on and on. Responding to responses is the least thorough and effective way to communicate!But I will say this. I experience great joy in ministry, and I experience great frustration. Anyone who is a pastor will say the same. Anyone. Whether you believe in God’s Sovereignty or not, like Paul did, you still feel this in ministry.2 Corinthians 11:28- “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”I only have one church and have enough anxiety; I couldn’t imagine having more!

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