Melody wrote a blog entry today on the differences in certain areas of the US in attitudes toward soulwinners. The more people comment on my post, and now after Melody's, the more I realize that what we're experiencing here is more widespread than I had thought. Wes had an interesting observation this morning. He said he believes that people are hardened to the Gospel in the south (and other areas of the US) because they are saturated with it - they've heard it all their lives, and now someone is knocking on their door with it (speaking generally here!). Here in Canada, there is a famine of the Gospel - soulwinning and solid, fundamental churches preaching the Gospel are not common (we could use more help up here, by the way, should the Lord touch your heart for Canada! LOL). So, especially here in the Vancouver area, where it's truly a multi-cultural society, thus multi-faith, people see Christianity as just another religion, and Baptists as just one facet of that religion, and so they don't want to hear it.
Melody dropped by my blog and left a comment, and within that comment asked this question:
Doesn't it seem that as a result, we should become more creative in sharing the Gospel in other ways?
I do believe we need to be more creative, and this is something I've been thinking about this week anyway. I read a book by Janette Oke earlier this week (The Measure of a Heart) in which a young woman marries a pastor and they minister in a small town. The one thing that struck me in this book is that this young woman did not go out door to door to win her neighbors, although she accompanied her husband to visit once or twice a week; she reached out to them through her everyday life: taking a bit of baked custard to her elderly, crotchety neighbor, reacting with calmness and kindness when the neighborhood boys broke her bedroom window with their baseball; helping in the kitchen when she and her husband visited a new family in town that very clearly were not interested in church. In all these situations, she extended friendship to people, got to know them, and they saw first-hand her Christianity lived out day to day.
That really made a strong impression on me. I don't believe in only lifestyle evangelism; we do need to be actively seeking out people to witness to. But I'm coming to the conclusion that we have to also befriend people. For example, the only contact I have with our immediate neighbors is when we are getting in our cars at the same time or knocking on their door when their music gets too loud. I haven't reached out to them as people, yet I pray for them to be saved. I had been blinded into thinking that my witness to them should be limited to inviting them to church and hopefully getting to witness to them . . . when? On the way out the door?! I'm quite amazed at the attitude I've had! So now I'm trying to find ways to reach out to them and our other neighbors. I don't know how, really. I'm a little shy and uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations. Maybe the Lord will help me and show me how to befriend my neighbors. Melody, I couldn't agree with you more . . . we do need to be more creative in sharing our testimonies, and people need to see real Christians with real testimonies. I think they're probably tired of "church people" who ignore them except when they want them to come to church for something.