Take the Leap
Faith is an adventure of relationships, and sometimes the first step in a relationship is the hardest one to take. This past year, we’ve embarked on a wonderful journey together. Where will the people take us in 2014? If the Holy Spirit’s work is any indicator, no one ever really knows. God opens doors, and we walk through them just as Christ did with his disciples.
I met a pastor at a meeting several years ago who shared about a similar kind of experience in his church. He visited with a young family and immediately began what sounded like a “pastoral sales pitch.” This particular family wanted the church to have all kinds of programs for them. The pastor explained all the opportunities the church had to minister to them.
Then the pastor realized something. He wasn’t telling them about Jesus’ life. Church isn’t a place where we come to order off the menu. That’s a restaurant. Church is not a “feed me, feed me” organization. Churches are people where you come, you give, and you contribute to God’s work. That’s when things take off.
So he turned to them and said, “This is who we are; this is what we do; and if you would like to be a part of the journey, we would love to have you.” After a brief end to the conversation, that was that, and he moved on. The people never joined the church.
A few weeks later, Alan visited the same church. Alan was totally different than the young family. Alan was single, a business executive, an agnostic at best. The pastor took a different approach with Alan than he had with those people. He decided instead to build a relationship with him. Instead of selling him on the church, he simply settled in for a relationship. Alan had lots of questions—questions about faith, questions about baptism, what it meant to follow Christ. He and the preacher met for coffee about once every week or so. They talked, a believer with a nonbeliever, slowly tearing down the walls that divided them. Slowly but surely, God chipped away at Alan and the pastor. By the time it was over, the pastor had built such a relationship of trust with Alan that he did accept Christ as his savior, and he did want to be baptized. But he didn’t want to be baptized in his church; Alan wanted to be baptized in his swimming pool so he could invite his neighbors to come and watch the show.
Everyone has an Alan in their lives. In 2014, who will you invest in? Not a sales pitch, but a relationship. Let the spirit do the rest. The adventure begins. Take the leap.