leading the world to Christ starts at your local Applebee’s

server

i don’t post here much anymore. only when i feel like i really have something to say.

so sue me.

as some of you know, i recently left full-time ministry and am trying to find my place in the world outside of being a full-time, professional Christian.

and for right now, that means i work as a server at our neighborhood Applebee’s. and, much to my surprise, i really love it.

last week, i had the opportunity to serve a local minister. he is well-respected in the circles i used to run in, having grown several small churches to mega-church status. i knew him, but he didn’t know me.

and, after serving him lunch…he still doesn’t know me. in fact, he didn’t even look up at me. or acknowledge me. or say anything to me.

the irony: he and his friend spent the better part of an hour at my table talking about how to lead the world to Jesus.

all i could think to myself was: “how are we going to lead anybody, let alone the world, to Jesus, if we can’t even give the guy who serves us our lunch the time of day?”

it starts in our neighborhood. or our neighborhood bar and grill.

(now, i am not mad at this man. he meant no ill will towards me at all. he wasn’t trying to make it in to my blog. he’s a good…no, a great man.)

can we all agree to keep our eyes open to the opportunities right in front of us? can we start thinking a little smaller, perhaps? can we stop overlooking the hurt and lost and broken among us every day?

Eats with Sinners

Evangelism “strategies” and “tools” seem to be everywhere.

They have changed over the course of time. Back in the day, you could actually go door-to-door and have a decent conversation with somebody about faith. Then, when that stopped working, we started handing out tracts. Quite a bit less personal, especially if you just left them on your table at the restaurant for your waitress or on the back of the toilet in the stall. With the age of technology, we have created new ways to engage in “electronic evangelism” and creating dialogue through pictures.

None of these are bad things. But, I tend to  grow nervous around methods and tools.

If you look at the way Jesus connected with people who needed to hear the good news, it seemed to be much simpler.

He used food.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'” (Luke 15:2)

Could sharing the gospel be as easy as eating together? Could we really earn the opportunity to share our faith as we develop a relationship with someone over food? Could the sacred event of a meal be the fertile grounds in which the seeds of faith are planted?

Jesus thought so.

And so does Arron Chambers. His new book is appropriately titled Eats with Sinners. (website / Amazon) In the book, Arron dives deep into the “ingredients” necessary to effectively share your faith. Each chapter covers an ingredient, such as integrity, grace, intimacy, urgency, and vision.

Arron writes practically, but that doesn’t mean what he writes is easy. As I read (and re-read) this book, I found myself very challenged. Arron encourages intentional relationships that are moving towards an opportunity to share the gospel. I don’t have many relationships with non-Christians. And the ones I do have are surely not intentional.

I found Arron’s book to be so valuable that we have adopted, at the Christian Campus House, the theme of evangelism for this spring semester. We plan on looking at each of the ingredients as shared by Arron over the course of the next few months. Our students have a nervous energy about them. Nervous because we are talking about evangelism, and that always gives us the jitters. But energy, because this isn’t the same kind of evangelism most of us have experienced.

I bought each of my student leaders a copy of Eats with Sinners. Our first meeting night, I also asked if there were any other students interested in having their own copy of the book…and I ordered 17 more the next day!

And so…if you haven’t snagged your copy of Eats with Sinners yet, I recommend you do so. We are buying them up and left and right here in northwest Missouri. You best hurry if you want your own copy.

Free Catalyst Tickets and the Gospel

So, here is the scoop.

One week from this morning, I will be flying out of the KC for the ATL. Once I get to the ATL, I will secure me a compact rental car and head for the Catalyst Conference.

In case you haven’t yet heard, I have partnered with the Christian Standard to bring you live-blogging through the pre-conference Labs and all 10 of the main sessions…as well as bringing you some other social media goodies throughout the conference.

With that in mind, if you haven’t yet…you should subscribe to my blog and follow me on Twitter.

I’m excited.

This all started when I got news that I had won a ticket to Catalyst.

I hadn’t planned on attending prior to my big win. I had wanted to, but didn’t have the extra bones to make it work. To stay home would have cost me nothing.

And then I won a “free” ticket. A few weeks later, my “free” ticket has cost me around $400 in the form of airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel rooms.

Is this not exactly like the Gospel?

It’s free…but it will cost you everything.

“Restore Your Faith in Humanity” Friday #5

This is a story from my backyard.

I live in the town of Maryville, MO. Our high school’s freshmen football team was playing Benton, a school in St. Joseph, MO…about 40 miles from here.

Maryville was shutting Benton out. And, at the end of the game, Maryville gave up a touchdown to Benton.

But, they wanted to.

Read the story of Matt Ziesel’s amazing touchdown run and feel good.