For the record…

Posted: August 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

…I have been an avid proponent of anything not “Apple” for about 10 years.  My brother was an early adopter years ago by buying an Apple G4 (or equivalent) desktop computer.  Then he got an iPod.  I was against doing that for myself, because (1) Apples (and apple-related stuff) cost a lot more than PCs and (2) I didn’t want to have to re-learn new software.  Every new computer I purchased over the years was Windows-based.  I also purchased several .mp3 players from brands like Creative and Toshiba.  I always touted how much cheaper they were than an iPod.

But I’m becoming a believer.  I now work daily on the church’s new iMac.  I inherited my father’s 30GB iPod video.  And I actually bought my wife an 8GB iPod Nano for Christmas last year.  I’ve tasted the Kool-Aid, and it is good.

But the real proof happened earlier this week, when I was working on my Dell Laptop (Windows):  I went to close my web browser and I scrolled the mouse to the upper left corner looking for the x-button.  If you know Windows, you know the X is in the upper right corner.  On Macs, it’s in the upper left.  So even my way of thinking when operating anything computer-related is gradually becoming Mac-oriented.

So now I can put Apple stickers on my car windows.  I can fashionably listen to my iPod even when other people are attempting to talk to me.  I can proudly tout that I am a Mac user to all my Dell/HP/Gateway using friends.  I can now laugh at those Mac vs. PC commercials (for real, not just pretending to laugh).  I can boast how much better Safari is than Internet Explorer.  I will even claim that my next laptop will be a MacBook Pro.

Converted, I am.

Now here’s where I make my hokey spiritual point…err…or I’ve used a hokey illustration to make a valid spiritual point.  You pick.

It’s taken me years to become acclimated to a Mac computer.  I was very comfortable and happy using my Windows stuff.  I even made fun of others for being Mac people.  I did not want to change.  And that is where most people live most of the time:  Content, unwilling to change, unwilling to try something new. 

I used to have the same attitude about church.  I grew up in a large, traditional church, and I was very skeptical of the way contemporary, seeker-targeted churches (like Crosspoint) did church.  I would argue with people that showing movie clips and playing secular music couldn’t possibly be appropriate in a church environment, where God is supposed to be worshipped and nothing else.  I would concede that, at best, those kinds of churches were more para-church, outreach ministries than true churches.

The only thing that helped me overcome that attitude was that my grad school requirements demanded that I seek out an internship at a seeker-targeted church, because none were available at other churches where I was more comfortable.  But once involved, I got to see God moving in people’s lives in a way I had never seen before.  I immediately felt remorse for my unrelenting skepticism, and arrogance at thinking that I “just knew” what made a church a real church.  So, daring to become involved in that church changed my perspective forever, and now I cannot imagine belonging anywhere else.

I think the same is true for people who do not attend church (and maybe do not know what to think of this whole “Christianity” thing altogether).  They are comfortable where they are, and maybe even skeptical that what we evangelize is relevant to their lives.  And like many of us, only time and a risk to visit a church may be part of the process where they are changed, too.

Reaching out to people who are unchurched (or even de-churched) means that we are in for the long haul, because life change is seldom instantaneous, though we strangely expect it to be.  The truth is that people have to overcome many years of social and theological (or anti-theological) indoctrination.  They may have to overcome years of sin.  The process can be a messy one because no one is perfect, and mis-steps will be inevitable along the journey.  But being in for the long haul means we do not give up on people, remembering that people did not give up on us.  We have enough grace to let them stumble and help them back up again, knowing that the work that the Holy Spirit God is doing in their lives may take years before they truly come to faith and trust in God.

In fact, as we build relationships with people, we may not actually be the people who get to see the fruit of God’s work in their lives come to fruition.  That may be something someone else gets to see years down the road.

If we can truly realize that evangelism is a process of relationship-building and patient guidance as much as it is proclaiming God’s word, I think we would see more and more people come to Christ…and stay there.

  1. Julie says:

    Beautifully said….

  2. Jason says:

    Steve Jobs would be proud of you Kevin, and I know Jeremy is….

  3. elilack says:

    I agree with Juju, beautiful…

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