EveryStudent.com (and myself) are connected with a Christian organization, called “Cru.”
It’s a great organization, with Christians who have a heart to bring the gospel to the world, and to teach people to trust God and be led by him.
It was started in 1950 by Bill Bright, and one of the largest Christian mission organization in the world.
Most of the Christians in our organization share the gospel and disciple others much like it was done in the 1950s. Some tools have changed. New ideas have come about.
But largely, it is a personal, one-on-one, face-to-face ministry.
Of course, I’ve been trying to bring change, to help them see the opportunities that exist with so many people interacting and learning online! (Like you and me!)
People are used to getting information on their phone, tablet, laptop. With ease. At zero cost. When they want it. And within seconds or minutes. It’s how people go through daily life. Think of all the ways, just today, that you’ve used your phone or computer.
Yet, when it comes to ministry, we tend to stay with traditional ways.
In our organization, most really like EveryStudent.com and StartingwithGod.com. Yet many just don’t think of using it in ministry. It has puzzled me. Then last week I had an “ah-ha” moment.
Here it was.
I’ve been going to the same woman to cut my hair for about 4 years. The last two years, I’ve often thought about a particular book that she really needs.
Each time I’d leave her shop I’d think, “Next time, I’m going to stop by a bookstore, buy that book, and bring it with me.”
I need to confess to you…for two years I thought this. And every time, I’d feel pressed for time, and barely able to get there in time for my appointment. So I never got her the book. TWO YEARS! Pathetic, I know.
Until last week.
I finally realized, while sitting in her shop (still without the book), that I could order the book on my phone.
I asked for her business card, entered the address in my phone online, and told her, “Your book will be here in two days.”
So why didn’t I think of doing that before, with her???
I buy ALL my books for myself, for my kids, for others at Amazon.com. I really can’t remember the last time I bought a book in a store.
Yet with her, I thought I needed to stop in a bookstore, buy the book, and hand it to her. WHY???! Here’s why…
It’s how I’ve always acted with someone I am personally with, face-to-face. If you give a gift to a person, while you’re with them, it should be tangible. (Maybe gift-wrapped.) I should be able to hand it to her, right?
Yet, because I held to that rule, that LAW, she waited two years for the book. Once I thought to do it online, she had it two DAYS later!
It was cheaper, easier, and faster for me. Yet it took me two years to think of it!!! And I work on Websites!!
She didn’t think it was rude of me to have it delivered by mail to her. She was very grateful that I went to the effort to order it and pay for it. It didn’t matter to her at all that I was not going to gift-wrap it.
SHE had no problem with me ordering online. I was the one holding to an old, unnecessary rule!
So…when it comes to how we share the gospel, how we disciple someone or help a new believer grow…what rules, what laws do we have in our minds that are limiting our effectiveness?
Here are two possibilities…
1. If a nonbeliever has a question about Jesus, or the Bible, or God’s existence, or whatever…do you feel that you have to go find the answer, then meet again with that person, then present the answer?
Or could you give the nonbeliever a link to investigate for themselves? Could you entrust the discovery to them? Could God speak to them without their needing to wait to meet with you? Could you help them get the answer faster, that day?? And then you could still meet with them and talk about it.
2. If your church has an evangelistic event and 75 people ask Jesus into their lives…do you feel they must be called on the phone and invited to a class, so they can begin growing? Is it alright if only 15 of them actually come to the class? What about the 60 who don’t?
Or could you tell all 75 people to go to StartingwithGod.com and sign up for “The Spiritual Starter Kit.” And ALSO invite them to the class. Then, you’ve given all 75 an opportunity to begin growing that night! And they might feel more comfortable showing up at the class.
I will still see the woman who cuts my hair. But NOW we can talk about the book together! So the idea is not to substitute face-to-face with online.
The idea is to not limit or delay their search for God or their spiritual growth by requiring them to meet with you or come to an event. Can you serve them with something online? Right then?
Have you held too tightly to traditional ministry approaches?
(If you want to know more about Cru, our Christian organization, here’s their site: http://www.cru.org/ )