My initial years of ministry afforded me the privilege of leading several people to Jesus within in the walls of the church building. These people came seeking answers to spiritual questions during scheduled events and regular office hours. 1 Corinthians 14:23 speaks of just such a seeker, “if the whole church should assemble…and an unbeliever enters…”
Yesterday, after a round of golf, my new friend casually informed me, “My wife doesn’t sin.” A few weeks ago in the local Tim Horton’s a man devastated by the situation his relative was in commented, “Maybe it would be better if the good Lord just took him…” And a couple of months ago while my family shared a meal in a Muslim home, I was told by my host that, “Jesus didn’t die; he was simply taken to heaven through a hole in the roof.”
These men want to talk about spiritual things. They are seekers; perhaps a different breed of seekers, but seekers none the less. We won’t find them in the local church. They need to be sought out on their own turf as Jesus did the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) or Zacchaeus in his home (Luke 19). They need someone like a Philip who is willing to leave a successful ministry to go out to a desert road in the middle of nowhere and minister to one Ethiopian seeker. They need people who will reach out to them as Paul did to Lydia at the river or the prison guard in Acts 16.
It might be we need to broaden our understanding of when and where ministry takes place. These people need to see the normal yet radical Christian life demonstrated under their noses on their turf juxtaposed against their lives. Then, maybe, these people will seek answers from us, not within the four walls of our church buildings but in a coffee shop or over a meal or on the golf course. These seekers want to talk about spiritual things. They will even discuss Jesus. But we need to be where they are if we are going to answer their questions.
Dan Jansen is a church planter at Pineridge House in Calgary , AB