Have you ever had to describe one person to another person? If you have to describe someone you know well, you can describe not only physical attributes but also habits, characteristics, you will have stories that go along with the descriptions. Try to describe someone you don’t know well or have only just met and you may not get their description right, let alone be able to add all the other things about a person.
It’s the same when we are asked to share our faith with others. If we cannot answer some key things about Jesus and the church then our attempts will fall flat. But if we have a relationship with Jesus, if we are sold out to Christ and his church we can share not only what it looks like but what it’s like to be a part of it.
We’re continuing our new series, “Beyond” this Sunday. We’re exploring what it is like to widen our focus beyond ourselves to see the world around us. This week we’ll be looking at the three key things we need to know, not just be acquainted with, but really know as we try to engage those who are outside of the church, those beyond our walls.
Pastor Tim encouraged us to identify one person who is a “none” or a “done.” “Nones” are those folks who have checked, “No religious affiliation” on census and other survey information. They do not identify themselves as any religion and have no church affiliation. “Dones” are those folks who once went to church but for one reason or another have stopped going. They are done with church. Pastor Tim encouraged us to identify one “none” or “done” and begin to pray for that person.
I thought I’d share with you a story from college. While I was a student at FSU our pastor at the Wesley Foundation encouraged us to write out a list of people who did not go to church. They very well could have been “nones” or “dones” but most likely they may be students who grew up in the church and were taking a break from church. I wrote down two names – girls that I lived with. I lived in a Scholarship House with 28 girls but I picked two girls that seemed to have no interest in church whatsoever. I began to pray for them. My pastor at the time said that if you were too afraid to talk to the people on your list about your faith that you should pray that God would have them bring it up. So I did. I prayed, “God, you know I’m a chicken. If you want me to share with these girls about my faith then you will have to make it abundantly obvious. Make them come and ask me.”
Well, wouldn’t you guess it? Within a day of saying that prayer the first girl came in to where I was studying and said, “I just don’t get why you go to church. What is it about God any ways?” There it was. The door was open. I shared with her my answers to the three key things I will share about on Sunday. That same day the second girl came up to me in the kitchen and said, “So, what is the Trinity? I don’t get it. How can God be 3 and 1?” After I picked my jaw up off the floor that God would answer my insolent prayer, I did my best to share what I understood of the Trinity. One of the girls became an active church member, the other didn’t. But I did what I could to share with them all that I knew about this Jesus that I knew so well.
Come on Sunday or watch online to find out what three key things we need to really know before we can effectively engage those beyond the walls.