Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Differing Levels of Receptivity

Recently I had the privilege of witnessing to people from three very different cultures at a large, secular university. The first opportunity came when an African-American woman sat down at the table where I was drinking coffee and reading the campus newspaper. In answer to a diagnostic question, she indicated that she was basing her salvation on good works. She was very receptive to the true gospel, and in a short time she surrendered her life to Christ in repentance and faith. The other two opportunities were quite different. I shared the gospel with four Sunni Muslims and with an agnostic Chinese man. In both cases the people heard the gospel but did not accept it. Hopefully some good seeds were planted that will eventually be harvested.

Clearly, there's just one gospel, but there are many levels of receptivity, and the strategies we use to present the gospel can vary. When I encounter witnessing situations with non-receptive people that are challenging, it stimulates me to increase both my prayer life and my apologetic preparation. I am continually amazed at the divine appointments that God lays before me. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Wal-Martization of the Local Church

A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting where Leonard Sweet was speaking. He mentioned the Wal-Martization of the local church. I had not heard that term before, but it seemed eerily appropriate for what I have been seeing lately. For instance, last week I was visiting good prospects (i.e., they had already visited our church and had a good experience there) for the large church of which I am a member. (I am not on staff there.) I happened to visit a young couple that has several young children. They are the type of family that any SBC church would want to have. The woman said I looked familiar, and we soon discovered that she had heard me preach about six months ago at the small church she had been attending. I began to feel guilty about inviting them back to our large church because I remembered that the small church had very few children. I decided, however, that the couple has every right to take their children to a church where there are excellent children's programs that will help in their spiritual education. I saw the woman last Sunday, and she told me that her oldest child had made a profession of faith in one of the morning worship services. I guess I still have mixed feelings about this. I feel sorry for the small church that the family left behind. It seems to be mostly composed of senior adults, as are many of our SBC churches. I rejoice, however, that the family has found a church home where there are excellent children's programs that will help in the evangelization and spiritual growth of the children.