While sitting in my Starbucks on a random Sunday morning I noticed a man in his late 20’s a few seats in front of me. I did not and still do not know him or his name. He was a total stranger. As he sat staring at computer screen, hs lips were moving (1 Sam.1:13). Not an unusual sight in the age of webcams and Skype. Initially I thought he was talking with long distance friend or family member. And since I had my headphones on and could not hear his voice, I did not think anything of it.
As time moved forward I realized he was intently looking at his computer screen. Turns out was reading something not talking with someone. Reading something to himself, not out loud. As I was further intgirued by this guy I tried to figure out what he was doing.
- Why would he be reading something this way?
- Why were his lips moving?
- What was the document he was reading.
- What was this guy doing?
Then it hit me. I know what he is doing! I have done it before. He was not reading a document or news story, he was reviewing a manuscript. A manuscript he was going to eventually speak out loud. He was going over a sermon he was just about to preach! How cool was that?
Later, as I reflected on this I confirmed a thought I have had for a while now. I have some kind of Christian radar. I have the ability to spot them in a crowd or a crowded coffee shop. No matter where I at, I can point them out even when they are not wearing a WWJD bracelet or carrying a gold leafed, oversized coffee table edition of the Holy Bible.
This happens to me often enough that I have started to question the statics that speak of the low percentage of Christians in my town or any town I have lived in the past 20 years. “These stats can’t be right. I am meeting Christians everyday, everywhere.”
As I was formatting this post, I was sitting in a brew bar. At coffee shop pub that serves coffee and beer. While waiting for a friend who mixed up the location of our meeting I over heard the barista/bartender say to a women at the bar who was lamenting the fact no one was sitting next to her that she was not being whinny since, “We are created to be in community.”
What did I hear? We are “created?” Not a usual word for a barista/bartender. Not only that, but “we are created for community.” This is a very true biblical belief. And it sound like it got it from a basic theology book called Created for Community, by Stanley J. Grenz. I bet the guy behind the bar was a student at Denver Seminary, which is just down the street.
Also before my friend showed up I heard three other guys talking about “church management systems.” You don’t have a conversation about this mind of CMS without having some kind of responsibility within a church.
What I have come to realize about myself is that I am drawn more to Christians than non-Christians. I am more comfortable talking with those who are participants of the faith about faith, than with those who are observers to the faith about faith. I am more a discipler than and evangelists. Finding Christians everywhere I go is just one reason:
- I love seeing people grow in their faith and understanding of Scripture.
- When I over hear people taking about faith, church or even spirituality in general, I want to jump into the conversation.
- I hope and have prayed that certain celebrities were Christians.
- I think I work best with people who are passed the initiation phrase of spiritual birth.
- I read biblical meaning into song lyrics or comments about angels, heaven or God.
- I see deeper meaning in the crosses people wear around their neck or have tattooed on their arms.
- I want to influence people in their faith.
- I love teaching Scripture.
- Even though I think it can be unhealthy, I am at ease in the Christian subculture.
None of this relieves me of my responsibility to be an evangelist, a spokesperson for the good news of Jesus. All Christ followers are called to be part of the disciple making process. (Matt 28:19). Nor does the flip side give an evangelist a pass on influencing believers to be mature Christ followers. However, it is helpful to know where I fit into the process of others people’s spiritual growth and development. It is good to know if I am gifted, wired or skilled to plant or water the seed God will cultivate.
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”
1 Corinthians 3:6