It has been about 3 weeks since we had the amazing experience of going to our first PLI encounter. It was an experience we are very excited about and are working very hard to implement. There are so many aspects of this program and being impatient we would like to see it all happen at one time. However we are constantly reminded that God is in control and the incredible revelation for us is that we see HIM at work in our lives and the lives of the people around us.
While we were in Florida, He used us and the time spent there to impact our lives and learn more about the ministry plan He has for us. We are certain we are to reach people for God, we are sure we are to go out there and meet, greet and get to know God’s people.
It can seem like a daunting task when you first hear you are to go out and reach people, not invite them to come to you, but to GO to them. Complete strangers! The other concept that is a bit out of our “comfort” zone is to LISTEN to them. At times we get so caught up in the idea of telling others about Jesus, about telling people what they are missing out on by not following Jesus that we forget to listen to what they have to say or what is going on in their lives, their needs.
In the past few weeks I have learned that there are stories out there, there are reasons that people don’t go to church, there are people out there that just want a friend and nothing more. The most fascinating thing is that when I listen to them and are their friend they want to know more about me, and what I believe.
As an example, I was at an event recently and met a delightful woman. She has a personality that is so bubbly and wonderful and we had a wonderful conversation. During our time together, she asked me what I do and what my husband does. I told her my husband is a “Pastor” and that I am a church secretary. She stated, “ I’m not religious at all, I was raised Catholic, so ‘It’ is in me, but I don’t do religion”. I explained that this was not a problem, I was just delighted to meet her and I said “I am not going to ‘cram’ my beliefs down your throat, I just simply was delighted to meet her and get to know her and her family that were at the event. She thanked me and said she appreciated that I would not be pushing my beliefs. We continued to talk and enjoyed the afternoon together, as friends, nothing more, no expectations other than being friends. It was delightful. As I was leaving the event a couple hours later, she stopped me and asked if she could as a ‘personal’ question. I said, sure not a problem. She wanted to know what is a “pastor, is it like a priest”? I smiled and told her it is kind-of like a priest, but a bit different. She then asked me what religion I was and I told her I am Lutheran. She wanted further information, so I told her that Martin Luther was actually a Catholic and was a Monk (Priest), but he started the Reformation to spread the news that you don’t have to “buy” your way into Heaven, that Christ died for our sins and it is a free gift, to all who believe. We continued our conversation, she still doesn’t know what she believes, but she is asking questions. I have a new friend and she has asked if she can call me for more information in the future. I was blessed by her and I know the Holy Spirit is working.
I think the most important thing I learned from this is I don’t have to insist that people listen to my beliefs, I need to be their friend and nothing more, the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest, if I am willing to do my part.
I am excited for all of you to have this incredible feeling of joy and excitement. In the coming months, we will be incredibly busy, we will each be experiencing 2 meetings via skype with our learning huddles and working on setting up a Community group, a group that we will work with to teach some of the listening and learning techniques. These will be implemented now and in the future. This is an investment of not only money, but time and commitment to reaching all of God’s people.
PLEASE, keep us and our group in your prayers for the next two years, I promise we will do all we can to be good stewards of the opportunities God is giving us. Thank you again for your support and prayers.
Yours in Christ,