A little while ago, I turned out the story of this blog’s origin, or at least its title’s genesis. As I think about it further, and my experience engaging with people in conversation and watching others do the same with different approaches, I think of how we do this on Social Media too.
Enjoy part 2 of the origin.
As the weeks turned into years of doing this thing called, Ask The Blind Pastor, I made some observations.
- Sometimes, the Christians are overly confrontational. I had some of my biggest arguments with Christians wanting to change me or get me to think more correctly. Also, a Christian activist came on campus to overtly share his message against sin. Sadly, most were turned off by his offensive presentation style and demeanor and missed the beauty of the gospel message he shared.
- Most people were not interested in a conversation. I am not sure why, but much of my time there consisted of people walking around me, talking to others in the quad or simply hanging out. The issue of God did not seem like a relevant topic. No matter if I changed the topic to Life or anything else, the pastor word either intimidated or unimpressed the majority of students who saw the sign.
- Many still stopped to see what was up. Nonetheless, the efforts of being present and available to talk at their level allowed for many, many conversations to happen. Most were of a single conversation, but others came again to continue the dialogue another week. I still fondly remember one cynic who would faithfully met me to debate. I believe we formed a friendship. I wish I could have stayed in better touch with him after I went to Thailand.
- Consistency mattered. One important part of something like this is being consistent. I have no empirical data to back this up, but can say with certainty it mattered that I was there on a regular basis. An expectation began among the students that I would be there. Thus, when they needed someone to talk to, or they had an issue from a class pop up, they knew they could come find me.
- Curiosity brought people in. Often, those that were most interested were not the skeptics bringing the debate, but those listening in. I remember one girl who came to Jesus through this ministry was going through a big issue personally. She sat listening as I talked about God’s love in such a compelling way to a skeptic that when I was through with him, she wanted to know more. It is cool how we are still Facebook friends to this day and how she is loving Jesus more and more.
This exercise in putting yourself out there for dialogue, debate and deep conversations did many things in me as I did impact some and see a handful come to Jesus. First, I know that I am not an evangelist. The gift is not on me to see people simply come to Jesus. But, that does not stop me from being evangelistic and watching some come to Jesus. Second, we can all do something to engage the harvest, or witness of our faith, or whatever you want to call it. No one is exempt.
Finally, I learned a lot about the people living in our community, the people I wanted to reach, the people far from God in that young adult age range. I heard why many were no longer in church, or why others were so skeptical. I heard what many valued or cared about. I listened to those who talked with me, as well as those who talked around me. Sometimes, I would simply engage in conversations around me. I began to understand the way people thought and felt about the world around them. And my heart broke more for them. I wished I could do more to draw them to see Jesus.
But out of this sign that I carried with me and kept safely on my desk birthed this blog in which I get to continue the conversation. I get to talk about God, life, culture, mission and the like here. I get to exercise how to articulate what I feel is important, and I hope a few people enjoy it along the way.