I have to talk about what’s been happening to me lately. I watched an amazing discipleship message called the Multiply Gathering (can be found on http://www.MultiplyMovement.com) and I’ve been really trying to find ways to get involved more naturally in the lives of people. I used to do evangelism professionally–as a job–and it really messed me up. I ended up feeling like I couldn’t connect with people in a real way. I felt like a multi-level markerter always trying to sell my product. I saw people as bodies (similar to how I viewed porn stars). I had no real interest in exploring the value of love through them. It all became very wrong! I’ve been trying to unlearn that and I’ve been trying to get into people’s stories because I’m finding myself very interested in people–perhaps for the first time in a very long time. I’m also looking at things from a spiritual perspective. God has given me the desire to seek people out and to hear and to share and to interconnect with them. So, I asked in my previous post how we might go about doing that.
Well, for me I started thinking about where people go in my town. Many of them are hanging out at Starbucks. So, I decided to start going there to get into the middle of where the people are. That’s what Jesus did. Today, that requires a little more creativity than it did in Bible times, but it’s still possible.
The next obstacle became how to engage with people once there were people to engage. Well, so far, that’s been kind of taking care of itself. I have a chair that I normally like to sit in and I try to believe that whoever sits next to me must be the one God has brought for me to engage with. Now, I’m a total introvert and beginning dialogue definitely doesn’t come naturally to me. But, I’m getting a strong enough curiosity to trump my personality. I’ve found three out of four times now that I’ve been there that I’ve been able to strike up a conversation. Or maybe it would be better to explain that others have started conversations with me because I make myself available. There seems to be people who are looking for interaction. A glance, a nod, a simple “hello” or comment on something they are doing, etc. seems to be enough for them to just start talking to me. I’ve had hours of conversations now with complete strangers.
Another thing I’ve been doing is trying to listen during prayer. People have popped into my head while praying and it seems to be an indication that I should try to contact them. I’ve been trying to be faithful to that and it’s been opening up some pretty powerful dialogue with people I wouldn’t have otherwise thought to engage.
I don’t know how to explain what’s happening but I just feel like I’m learning to engage. And, it seems to be exactly what people need (including myself).