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Posts Tagged ‘mass evangelism’

One by One

One thing that never ceases to amaze me when I walk or drive the streets of Chicago is the mass of people that call this place home.  There are just so many people here!  And, when I think about all these people pressed into this shared space, I wonder, “How can we reach them for the Lord?  How can we share the story of Jesus with them?”

I often try to think of some grand plan that would reach this mass of humanity.  Perhaps we should try newspaper ads.  Or, direct mail.  Or, television spots.  Or, a call-in radio show.  Or, even a plane overhead that pulls a banner, like some of the planes I’ve seen over Uptown when the Cubs are playing at Wrigley.  “We need mass evangelism to reach the masses,” I sometimes think.

Then, I have experiences like I had today.  I left our apartment this afternoon to get a haircut.  On the way, I spoke to one of our neighbors who was walking her dogs.  She said, “They are pit bulls.  That’s why I pulled them away when you started walking toward me.  They are easily intimidated, and I didn’t want to upset them.”  “Thanks,” I said.  “I wouldn’t want them to get upset.  They are beautiful dogs.”  We smiled at each other and I walked away.  I walked by our bank on the way to the barber.  The bank manager saw me and waved.  I waved back and walked on.  Then, I thought to myself, “Go back there and talk to that young man.  You’ve been wanting to start and build a relationship with him.  What are you waiting for?”  So, I turned around, went in the bank, and greeted our bank manager.  “Good to see you, Mr. Holton,” he offered politely.  “It’s good to see you, too, Alper.  I was just wondering if you ever have time for a cup of coffee, or lunch.”  “I do on Saturdays or Sundays,” he said with a smile.  “Well, I would just like to get to know you better,” I said.  “I would love that,” he replied.  “Here is my business card, and let me write down my personal cell phone number.  Hey, I bought that book you recommended.  I haven’t started it yet, but I will.”  “Good for you!” I said.  “I’ll call you one of these days in the near future, and we’ll go out for coffee.”  I don’t even like coffee, but I’m eager to get more involved in this young man’s life.  As I turned to leave, one of the tellers who often helps me looked up and saw me.  She smiled and gave me a friendly wave which said to me, “I know you, Mr. Holton.  It’s good to see you!”  (It’s amazing how small gestures like these can renew one’s strength.)  After leaving the bank, I walked another four blocks to the barber shop.  My barber was having her hair colored by one of her colleagues.  “I think you would look good with purple hair!” I said.  “Oh, my husband would faint dead away if I came home with purple hair!” she said.  “If you’ll give me ten minutes, I’ll be ready to cut your hair.”  “No rush,” I said.  “That will give me time to walk to Walgreen’s.”  Three minutes later, I was having a conversation with a cashier at Walgreen’s, and ten minutes later, I was sitting in the barber chair.  My barber, Anita, and I had a wonderful conversation about God.  She brought up the subject.  She asked about our sons.  “How are they?” she asked.  “Well, the one in Mozambique is doing well, and the one who recently came back to the states from north Africa is planning his next move.”  “Thank God he is home safe!” she said.  That led to raising your children to love and serve the Lord, how it is that some people feel called to serve God in certain places, etc.  It was a wonderful conversation.

I want to continue to dream of ways to reach the masses in Chicago.  I think that is a legitimate dream.  But, Kerry, you must not overlook the individual persons you meet in the course of an ordinary day.  Perhaps the best way to influence the masses in the long run is to reach my neighbor, my banker, my bank teller, the cashier at the store I frequent, and my barber.  One by one.

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