Friday, March 07, 2008

A Plea to Be Bold

Thom Rainer's book, "The Unchurched Next Door" addresses our need to be unashamed of the gospel and to build bridges of genuine friendship. Check out this plea to be unashamed from a recent convert.(see my previous post to understand the U4 designation.)

Hey Thom, I just finished reading the material on the U4’s. Boy, could I identify with those people. I was probably aU4 just about five years ago. I never was antagonistic toward the church and Christians, but I was resistant to anyone trying to convert me.

I look back on those years, and the best way I can describe it was that it was a time of fog. I didn’t think or see much clearly in those days. Most of the time religious matters were not at the top of my agenda, but they were kind of hanging in my conscience. I guess the Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention.

The most amazing thing about that period is that I can’t recall one person over several years who ever said anything to me about Jesus or even the church. I had Christian neighbors who never opened their mouths. I had Christian coworkers just two offices down from mine. Never a word from them.

Looking back now, I think I would have welcomed a word from a Christian. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was hurting deep inside. And I probably would have put on some act of bravado to let people know I didn’t need God as a crutch. But I still would have loved to have heard something from a Christian.

I guess I moved to a more neutral position, what you call a U3, after watching a Billy Graham crusade on television. I bet if someone invited me to church then I would have gone. You know the rest of the story. I finally visited a dynamic church in town and became even more receptive to the gospel. Finally someone from the church asked me to lunch. Mike, who is now my best friend, shared with me how to accept Christ. A few months later I did pray to receive Christ.

But do hear what I am saying. I had to go to a church before someone talked to me one-on-one! For the first 42 years of my life, on one witnessed to me or invited me to church. I pray that I will never make that mistake. You know, the mistake of keeping my mouth shut. No, it’s more than a mistake, it’s a sin.

Thom, I pray that your next book will be used of god to open some mouths that are sinfully shut. If I had to depend on most Christians in America for hearing the good news, I guess I would still be hell bound. Please let your readers know that most of the unchurched people out there would welcome a word from a Christian. Please tell them before it’s too late.

May God fill us with love for Christ and others that overcomes our fear! God grant us your boldness and wisdom to share!

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