Saturday, September 22, 2007

1000 Conversations, part one

Last week's sermon (notes available here) centered on the idea of witnessing and whether
a) It's a legit thing to do in a society where truth is relative; and
b) It's legit to convert people in this same society

On Wednesday night we discussed a number of reasons why we have trouble witnessing. Among them:

• General fear
• Seems like most people know the gospel already, so we should really be able to witness simply through the way we live our lives
• The belief that people should be able to think/do whatever they want and I shouldn't push them in any particular direction
• Feeling as if we can't witness unless our life is somehow "complete" and impressive. This is basically saying that we can't witness unless we feel like our life is not broken.
• Unsure of actual motivations. In other words, are we witnessing for God or for personal satisfaction? Are we trying to add a star beside our names because we saved someone when the focus should not be on US in the first place?
• Unable to find the right time/place to bring it up
• The whole witnessing thing feels salesy. Not exactly the word you want to associate with your deepest values and beliefs.
• Lack of immediate gratification/satisfaction. In our now now now society, it's somewhat counterintuitive to simply be a seed-planter

We also challenged each other to think of a deeper reason why we don't witness as much as we "should." People talked about having to shoulder the load of successful conversion, about general fear, about feeling like it's a lost cause. On a personal level, I think my witnessing weakness occurs because the whole idea of having serious conversations is somewhat foreign to me. As I said the other night, I live in a world of jokes, video games and Anchorman quotes. As such, the problem isn't as much witnessing as it is about being serious.

Anyway, if you're looking for an end conclusion...Well, we didn't exactly come to one. I do think if you recounted the night's discussion, though, what we'd agree upon would sound something like this: our most effective witness is one that's based on being relational -- not on "winning" a sale, not on a scripted persuasive speech, but on actually listening to the other person and reacting to their needs. We'll always screw up -- we are human, after all -- but if we're aware of the Truth, we should probably share it. Ya know?

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