So if you ever come to Portland you have to go see a couple of really fun/interesting things. Here is where I like to take people when they come and visit me (not in any particular order):
2. Voodoo Dougnuts
3. Powell’s Bookstore
4. Stumptown Coffee
5. Rose Garden’s
6. Pioneer Square
7. Art Museum
8. The Melting Pot
9. A ride on the max
10. Saturday Market
So don’t worry, this isn’t a post about where you should go, but I wanted to share a lesson that I learned today while I was at Saturday Market that I believe is critical to what evangelistic methods we decide to utilize with non-believers. There are many sights, sounds, and smells unique to the experience. A guy dressed up like Jimi Hendrix letting people get their picture with him, lots of music, food, and other cool items like jewelry is what you tend to expect at this annual event that happens every Saturday March-Christmas.
Today I saw a bunch of people there doing some “preaching” and giving people the gospel. I think I heard the word sin and crime and “God’s punishment” more than I ever have while I’ve been at Bible college (and that’s not for lack of teaching on it). These people seemed super judgmental and not bringing a message of hope. Finally after twenty minutes a guy stood up and shouted at them: “Hey buddy why are you shouting at us? If you want us to know your God why don’t you get to know us instead of judging all of us all at once.” I felt like it was a very legitimate question but the speaker went on, not even engaging the guy’s question.
I was with my fiancee Jennica and afterwords we talked about what this guy had said. I think that it is crucial to engage people in relational living and the gospel, but not to be void of the message of the gospel even when you might not have a context with them.
I think that Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 puts it very well: “Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
In context, that doesn’t mean that we don’t preach the gospel, but we must be vulnerable, intentional, and compassionate towards the people we hope to reach because it’s much easier to stand behind a microphone and say good theology instead of taking time to develop relationships and share the love of God that he has placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
The take away or application in this for youth leaders is to relate with youth and others in your community while preaching the true gospel with your words and actions.