There are a handful of things that are a huge distraction to yours truly. When I see them, I struggle to not drop all I’m doing to join–like the dog and squirrel stereotype. One of the biggest temptations is people playing Frisbee.
Skilled or not, I will rarely turn down an opportunity to play Ultimate Frisbee. And, because I get so passionate about it, I’ll rarely turn down an opportunity to invite others to play with me. At camp, I’d pull together people to play almost any time the weather was nice and I was off work. At school, I joined the club team and was the biggest, loudest recruiter. Practically every time I met a new student, I’d suggest they come to practice. And any time there was a large gathering of people, I’d ask someone to grab a disc. Let’s get this show on the road, dudes!
I find it easy as all get out to invite people to Frisbee. But it’s not quite the same to invite people to church or to salvation. If you’re like me, you find the idea of witnessing intimidating and, honestly, awkward, stressful, and confusing. You want people to be saved, but the process seems so forced. So you don’t open up about faith as much as you feel you should, and then you’re also haunted by a nagging sense of guilt.
Pastor Kyle at Berkley Hills Church pointed out that this is so often because we’re trying to do things all backward. We’re first emphasizing the specific details of Christianity. Then we invite them to be saved, and might then share our story. Whether or not we even practice what we preach is the last thing we consider.
Friends, if we really have knowledge of salvation in our hands, we ought to be as excited to share it as we are to share the joy of Ultimate Frisbee with others. And we ought to share our faith in the same way we share our favorite brands and activities.
Firstly, we need to “use what we sell.” If I’m so passionate about Frisbee, you’ll see me out there on the field. If you’re so passionate about your faith, you’ll be putting it into practice daily. When we live this way, other people will naturally see us and see that we do have knowledge about which we speak.
After we’re actually involved in our sport, we then have the freedom to share our experience. Now that I’ve been active in Frisbee, I can tell stories of my best defenses, or my fastest runs. Once I’m living in line with God, he’ll provide all sorts of stories worth sharing.
Only after these first two steps is the appropriate time to invite others to try it. Someone can easily see I play Frisbee and that I’ve had a delightful time with it. If you’re living out your faith, what you have will likely sound appealing to others.
Now is the point where you give them the details. When I suggested people join our club team, I didn’t give a lot of information; mostly just “show up!!” But if any of these recruits took me seriously enough to try out a practice, and then seriously enough to show up to a game, there were little details they’d need to know. It’s only at the point where they’re truly interested that I will bother to explain the fees and the uniforms, dates and times.
It so often happens that we Christians first flood people with details upon details upon details. And at the end of that onslaught we ask if they’re interested.
But, in my excitement, I never started a conversation about Frisbee with the details of cost or dress. Instead, I started a conversation about a sport I wholeheartedly played. I showed them my excitement and then I invited them to join. If they were still with it, that’s when I gave them the specifics.
This is the sensible way to get others involved. We do it naturally when we talk about things we’re passionate about that we want others to try: our favorite foods, our favorite brands, our favorite places to visit. But when it comes to our faith, we are so quick to switch this order. We need to act and show before we invite. Let’s get our salvation game in order the same way we get our Frisbee game in order!
Still, at the end of the day, even after all these steps in their appropriate order, we need to remember that we can sow seed, we can lead a horse to water, but we can’t make him drink. God alone can change hearts. We need to focus more on the faithfulness than the fruit. Thoughts?