4/28/16 Jay early 20’s
While trying to engage in a Gospel conversation today I was asked the question that I feared the most when I first started reaching out several years ago – “Why are you doing this?” Now, however, I welcome that question. Why the big change?
We were at a streetcorner today where we encountered Jay, early 20’s, waiting for the stoplight to change. When I asked my “conversation starter” question about what happens after we die, Jay was somewhat evasive at first, talking about reincarnation, but finally asking “Why do you ask?”
I had originally approached Jay by saying “Excuse me, we attend a church nearby and are asking random people about what they think happens after this life. Mind if we get your opinion?” The reason I used to dread the question “Why are you doing this?” is that it would force my hand to expose my true intentions – that I really was trying to convert them to Christianity and that my original request to get their opinion was just a dishonest “bait and switch” tactic to allow me to do so.
Now, I have changed to a positive view of that question for two reasons. 1.) I can honestly say that my goal for each conversation is not to convert people to Christianity. What? No, really! I have come to understand that my goal for an individual conversation can and should be different from my hopes and prayers for that person long term. My goal for the conversation is much more modest – (which almost guarantees success every time!) I just want to have a conversation about some aspect of the Gospel in order to challenge or encourage the person toward Christ or Christian maturity. In this way, even people who don’t want to respond to a question about eternity have been challenged to at least think about it.
2.) I have learned to respond to the question about my intentions with complete candor and honesty. I give a nutshell version of what I believe about eternity as a Christian, and when I do they usually agree that it only makes sense that I would want to share the good news of the Gospel with others. I welcome questions about my intentions because it gives me an opportunity to share the Gospel!
Why did I dread that question in the first place? I dreaded it because I was ashamed – not because I was ashamed of the Gospel, but ashamed that I wasn’t being entirely honest when trying to share it.