Things have been crazy; however, I think we are about to settle back down into some kind of routine again. We are excited about moving into the house and out of our apartment. My whole family is feeling very claustrophobic. Once we get settled in, our plan is to begin building bridges with our neighbors.
I have been gleaning a fresh perspective on starting a small group in our home. I have been reading Garry Poole’s “Seeker Small Groups”, and I must say that it is challenging my socks off! I have read several books, hundreds of articles and blog posts, and been involved in small groups as a participant and leader over the last year and a half. But this book seems to be hitting me in a very fresh way. It has answered a burning question that we have been battling with over the last year: At what point in a relationship or conversation do you drop THE hint, question, comment, or whatever about church, God, Jesus, or a Bible study?
This may seem like a foolish question to some, but for those with a post-modern mindset, this question is paramount. Many people are very open to spiritual discussions, but some are not. Most people that I have met, need a time of getting to know you in order to establish some kind of trust. So, the burning question has loomed like a dark cloud over every person I meet, WHEN!?!?!?!
In the second chapter of the book, Gary offers four “handles” for moving toward deeper spiritual discussions with seekers. For clarity, a seeker is anyone who does not currently have an intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ, whether they currently attend a church or not. These “handles” are simple phrases to help us remember four key principles.
Hang Out Together – Most Christians tend to gravitate toward the “holy huddle” mindset. Many Christians do not have any significant contact or interaction with non-Christians. We need friends outside of our churches!! We need to hang out where lost people are, AND talk with them. Christians tend to treat non-Christians like they are leprous and avoid interaction. I think this is commonly caused by fear of having to hold a spiritual conversation. Whatever the reason, we need to break the “huddle and cuddle” mentality and get out there among the folks who need Jesus!
Drop Clues Right Away– This may have been the bombshell for me. I have had this unsubstantiated fear that if I introduced “religious” dialogue too early, I would push people away. Garry simply explains that we should just be open about who we are and what we are passionate about, which should, of course, be our relationship with Jesus Christ. These hints could be as simple as talking about a church activity to asking if you can pray for a specific need. Also, we must be perceptive enough to know when to back off. We should never try to force someone to “convert”.
Look For Open Windows– Of course, this goes right along with the second “handle”. As we are doing life with non-Christians, we should be prayerfully seeking opportunities to drop clues. You never know when a person is open and ready to talk about spiritual things, but you can be in constant search for those opportunities. Remember, sometimes the door of opportunity flies wide open, sometimes it just merely cracks open, and other times it may slam shut. We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, which means our relationship with Jesus must be stable and growing.
Get The Message Down – Wouldn’t you think this would be the obvious? The message of Jesus should be the most shared discussions we have in a given day. Our lives should revolve around the simple truth that we are forgiven because the perfect Son of God gave His perfect life as a sacrificial substitute for my imperfect life. Yet, for most Christians it only seems to be a passing thought on Sunday mornings while they are safely huddled with people who would agree with them. We need to know this message so well that it buns a whole right through our fears and rushes forth into our lives and relationships! Father, please forgive my silence!
Well, this has turned out to be one of the longest posts in the history of this blog, but my passion for this subject is ever expanding. I will keep you up to date with our efforts to start a brand new seeker small group in our home. I leave you with a quote:
“Lord, make me a crisis man. Let me not be a milepost on a single road, but make me a fork that men must turn one way or another in facing Christ in me.”