This week I’ve had the privilege of meeting with some of the great people who call Captivate Church home. In these conversations I have been reminded of a few important truths to keep in mind as we live out our walk.
1. People are watching.
One woman I met with has a husband who is not a believer. She said that her husband does not trust pastors or Christians in general. She shared that they have had conversations about me in particular and he just can’t figure me out. She said what he has seen he likes but he expects me to fail. Stop and think about that. He expects me to fail. What he’s observed about Christian pastors is that they are frauds who manipulate the bible to say whatever they want to say. As it stands right now he is essentially waiting for me to be just like the rest. I’ve heard this before but it cut like a knife to be reminded of what we’re up against in Baltimore. Many parts of the country enjoy a culture that is reasonably respectful and trusting of the local church. We live in an area that is extremely skeptical and downright critical of anyone proclaiming to have faith. It is a passion of my heart not to let this woman down by proving her husband right. My prayer life is kicked up a notch today.
2. People are hurting.
In various recent conversations I’ve come across people who have major scars in their life. The amount of people (men and women) who have been impacted by sexual or physical abuse can be downright mind-blowing. A statistic can’t cry. You do not realize the impact of abuse on a person’s life until you stare into the eyes of a person sharing with you about this abuse. In the last few months I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Pastor, only X number of people have ever even heard me say what I’m about to tell you…” and then they go on to tell me about their abusive past. In our world of pop-tart Christianity we tend to talk strategy, graphics and production when what a person really needs is to experience God’s presence in their pain. People need to be reminded that their pain is a part of their past but they are not solely a product of their past. People need to know that they are not damaged goods and that their abuser does not own their destiny. God’s plans are not finished and a King is still on the throne.
3. People are curious.
I had an amazing conversation with a new believer in our church who is being baptized soon. The questions that came up during our conversation were sincere and thoughtful. Sometimes I wonder how often we as the local church are answering questions that are not relevant to the new or young believer. Often the very first questions that come out of a person’s mouth are along the lines of ‘How do I do the right thing in God’s sight.’ Often they confuse ‘good behavior’ with ‘Godly behavior’. They also tend to confuse a living God with a dead document. The bible to the believer has the weight of God’s very breath but to the new believer who just turns to Christ, the bible is a religious document. In this most recent case about an hour of discussion helped to set the framework needed to help clear some of the early-onset fog of faith. I often do not realize what I take for granted is very abstract for the average person. Being aware that people are curious allows me to consider the receiver before I talk about the things of God. What good is a great message if I’m a terrible messenger? The gospel is amazing, I often am not. I pray to be better and I pray you will be too.