Good morning friends and family! I don't know about y'all, but I'm so excited that fall is officially here. Well, it's about as close as it's gonna get for Florida anyway. Less humidity, cooler mornings and a refreshing breeze throughout the day really does make life a little more comfortable. Speaking of comfort, that leads us into this week's blog post. So, if you didn't let the title deter you from reading it, great job! I promise I will make your time worth it.
Every once in a while, I receive emails from Campus Ministry Today which feature encouraging stories with helpful tips about how we as a collegiate ministry can improve our methods of outreach. There have even been some interesting topics about what other ministries are doing to reach students during the pandemic. However, there was one story that was written earlier in the month that really caught my attention. The story is titled "3 Reasons It Feels Hard To Be Bold About Jesus" and written by Beau Crosetto, the director of Greek, InterVarsity in Los Angeles, California. This piece was originally published on June 17 on his website, beyondawkward.com, which is based on the title of his book, Beyond Awkward.
The general basis of Crosetto's story is how we as followers of Christ sometimes have to break at least one of the three social norms in today's Western culture in order to share our faith for the sake of furthering His gospel. These social norms are:
So, maybe you're asking yourself, "How can I do that without being disruptive or pushy?" Believe me, I'm always asking myself that question as well and Crosetto has a great answer.
He refers to the story of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-38. The Ethiopian is sitting in his chariot, reading the book of Isaiah when Philip approaches him and asks if he understands what he's reading. Philip just broke the first social norm of not talking to strangers, but was his approach pushy? Not at all. He simply asked a question. But it was bold. Yes, it might be uncomfortable or awkward when we randomly ask someone a question or start a conversation, but how that person responds will help us determine if the ball is in play for further conversation. "Bold people move forward when the door opens, and close the conversation down when the door is closed. They don't force a conversation on someone. Pushy people, on the other hand, move forward even when the door seems to be closed." (Crosetto) If a person responds with openness and curiosity, seize the moment. But if he or she seems disinterested or skeptical, let it go.
This story truly resonates with what our CoMission staff do on a regular basis because interacting with people we don't know is literally a huge part of many of our job descriptions. It's not exactly part of mine, but I'm working on that, slowly but surely. If one of my coworkers goes walking on campus, I will volunteer to join them every once in a while for the sole purpose of getting uncomfortable if the opportunity arises. I might not have had near my fair share of awkward encounters compared to the rest of them yet and the truth is I often avoid those situations if at all possible. The fact of the matter is, I absolutely hate getting myself into uncomfortable and awkward social situations. But don't we all? We're going to have to get used to it though because that's just the reality of following Christ and being His disciples. After all, sharing the gospel isn't something God asks us to do. It's something He commands us to do. My prayer for all of us is that God will empower and embolden us with His grace and Holy Spirit so we can follow through with task every chance we get until the end of our lives.