A week ago, I heard a testimony given by a man which I would like to share.
Sometime ago, he had been transferred into the area. Far from family and friends, he was eager to make new acquaintances. One day, instead of taking public transportation to where he needed to go, he decided to use Uber. Little did he know that decision would lead to events that would forever change his life.
On the way to his destination, the man happened to ask the driver where he went for fun. He was a bit surprised by the driver's answer because it wasn't the answer he expected. The driver told him he went to a great church where there were a lot of people in their age group. He invited the man to come and check it out. When the man said he didn't have a car, the driver volunteered to pick him up. By the time the man reached his destination, he had agreed to go to church with his new friend, the Uber Driver.
The man attended the next church service and his friend introduced him to some of his friends. They in turn invited him to a "lifegroup" they were attending. He accepted their invitation and began to regularly attend the lifegroup with his new friends as well as church. He was no longer alone, he was part of a community and eventually he came to know Jesus Christ. Now he in turn is building relationships and sharing Christ.
Growing up "in the Church" in the 1960's and '70's, I became very familiar with "witnessing formulas". Loaded with a memorized script, verses and literature, you ventured "out into the world". While this sort of approach probably works sometimes, most of the time it is ineffective and in fact frequently drives people away for Christianity. People become a "project" rather than people and no wonder they resist and even resent i! It definitely is not what Jesus did. A good example of what Jesus did is what happened when he encountered the Samaritan woman at the well.
The well was not only the place to get water. People tended to congregrate at wells when everyone else would be there because it was also the ancient world's version of Facebook. It was the place where people gathered to socialize, share news, voice their opinions and spread gossip. The Samaritan woman, however, came to the well when no one was there except Jesus and the reason why she did this was eventually revealed. She was a social outcast.
Jesus did not begin his conversation by addressing her sin or even her need. He did not quote scripture at her nor pass judgement. He simply opened up a conversation with her by asking for a drink of water. From this the conversation progressed until she raced off and invited others to come see Jesus and listen to what he had to say.
A casual conversation at a well; a casual conversation in an Uber taxi. It's not so different is it. We are called to go out into the world, not build walls and huddle in isolation. We don't need fancy scripts or elaborate programs. We simply need to spend time with God, open the door and step out into the world trusting that God will go before us, directing our steps.
Photo credit: Foter.com Public Domain
That was good