I was doing some work in the community the other night, greeting people as they entered a building and one young guy gave me his name then said ‘hey do you mind if I share the gospel with you quickly?’
I was a little confused. Doesn’t he know we are God botherers and know this stuff?…
‘Sure’ I said ‘Go for it’ I was curious as to what he’d say. Sure enough he had a spiel. I can’t remember it, but he said it quickly and with each sentence he finished or verse he quoted I said, ‘I know… I know… I know…’
It didn’t stop him – he was on a mission. And he finished with ‘Right now you’ve been told!’ That I had… He seemed oblivious to my comments.
Had he stopped to ask some questions he might have realised I already share his beliefs (to some degree), but there was no time for questions – and no other real conversation. It was weird. Odd… I’d heard about him around the place, and now I’d met him.
Its not an approach I recommend for having people listen to your message. He didn’t ‘assess the need’ and respond appropriately. He just charged in.
As I write Firefighter crews have been toiling for 4 days now, trying to get on top of the fires raging around the bush near us. (We are safe and unaffected personally). They have trained for this, prepared and are fit and ready, so that when this moment comes they can give it all they’ve got. And we love them for it.
Our Surf life savers are the same. They train, prepare and wait for the moment. Then they act to offer help and rescue to those in need.
Perhaps there’s a metaphor there this young guy would do well to look into. People really appreciate help when they need it – rescue when they know their life is in danger, but very people appreciate a random stranger spouting a spiel in their face.
I know – it takes all kinds. But I tend to feel we are better to respond to real need rather the need we wish people had. In the meantime training and preparation doesn’t go astray.