Photo Credit: Jared Rarick (creationswap.com)
It was this time five years ago — with the weather cooling and Thanksgiving approaching — that my Christian journey began to take shape and focus.
At 19-years-old, I was a college student who, aside from adjusting to the biggest cultural shock in the world moving from Massachusetts to Louisiana, was particularly normal. My hobbies included the usual from a college student: drinking, moderate drug use, cussing and sports.
On the surface, I wasn’t a bad person. I treated people with respect, tried to love everyone, and passionately desired to make a difference in the world.
However, around November (2009) my comfortable life slowly shifted.
… I (GASP) started exploring the world of Christianity.
Now, although I deeply hate writing in third-person, there’s a method to what appears to be a blog centered around myself. I’m going to identify — through my experience — how a normal, good-striving, spiritually deprived college student with no religious background turned to Christianity.
While a lot of elements played into my conversion to Christianity, the following three played the largest role.
(Disclaimer for the super religious people: I fully understand Jesus draws all to Himself (John 12:32) and Jesus was involved in all these areas of my life. However, from my atheist perspective, these elements bridged the gap from Matt “The Atheist” to Matt “The Christian.”)
Glancing from left to right with hundreds of students and young adults gathered listening to a typical sermon — disinterest ensued in their faces.
Long drawn out yawns heightened, constant social media surfing started, and direct eye contact to the ground ensued.
Following the message, I was curious about their mannerisms.
“What did you think of message.”
“Man, he wouldn’t stop yelling. It was annoying. I couldn’t pay attention.”
The same response echoed from the mouth’s of five other teenagers and young adults. I wasn’t surprised — in fact, my answer to them was similar.
“It was hard for me to pay attention too.”
I’ve also been in this conversation before. This person didn’t yawn, take out their phone, or stare into the ground — they left the service completely. Later, I discovered why — the preacher had the inability to talk like a normal human being. Literally, the tone and delivery of this preacher ran off an unsaved young adult.
As a fellow “preacher” and lover of God’s word, I have a mindful request for other preachers — can you please stop yelling at us?
Daydreaming about an upcoming conference, you’re excited about everything you’re going to learn. This conference, you’re thinking, is going to revolutionize the way you do ministry at your church.
You walk into the lobby where the conference is held and immediately you see people just like you — young (or young in mentality), with an iPad in the left hand and Starbucks in the right.
Normal conversation follows as everyone awkwardly (sorry, I’m somewhat an introvert) introduces themselves to different people — normal “ministry talk” ensues. You share about ministry success and struggles; they do the same.
The sessions begin and we’re off to find out “how to grow your ministry” or “how to transition your local church!”
As the speakers communicate you suddenly realize something — while all this information is great you can barely use any of this at your small rural church or new church plant with a limited budget. Suddenly, you realize you’re a lot different than these people.
We’ve all been there, right? Please, don’t tell me it’s just me.
Fresh into ministry at a church of 75-100 people and a youth group of two students I asked a pastor of 2,000+ this question: “What do you do to get past the hurdle of no people, volunteers or resources?” He said: “I have no idea.” I honor and admire his honesty, but this pastor inherited a megachurch and literally had no idea how to apply an answer to my question for my 75-100 person church.
I left discouraged, confused, and depressed because I didn’t have resources or manpower to do anything this pastor was sharing.
Photo Credit: Jenifer Cabrera (creationswap.com)
Have you ever been cut off in traffic before? Ugh! So annoying, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to get the person back! At least not legally… Let’s look at this from another angle.
Have you ever cut someone else off in traffic? It’s possible that you may be guilty of doing so but are unaware.
One time I was with a family member that was driving me to the store. We pulled into the parking lot, and before we could find a spot to park, somebody decided to walk out in front of us without even looking. My family member slammed on the brakes and yelled, “Hey, can’t you see I’m driving here?!?”
I thought that was a little dramatic considering this was a parking lot, but we quickly moved on, and started walking toward the store. We eventually got to the same spot where the other person had walked out in front of us, when all of the sudden a car pulled in front of us only missing us by stopping at the last minute.
Again, my family member yelled, “Hey, can’t you see I’m walking here?!?”
For some people, it doesn’t matter what side of the argument they are on, they just want to criticize others.