A wise person once said, ‘Never trust a person who won’t look you in the eyes.’
I’ve always remembered that, and more often than not, it holds true.
I’ve also discovered that it is quite simple to make someone not look you in the eyes. Actually, three ways:
- Ask a group if someone would like to read a portion of Scripture…
- Ask a group if someone would like to close the meeting in prayer…
- Say something like, ‘What do you think of this new idea?’…
All of a sudden, everyone forgets where your head is, let alone your eyes. Suddenly, the stained glass windows become the most beautiful things they have ever seen. Some remember they left their oven on, and have to run home.
What is everyone so afraid of? Then I remember back to my early days in the church, when I, too, had the same fears. “Please don’t call on me to read, or pray, or express an opinion. Please just let me sit here and count how many times you say ‘um’ in your presentation.”
*Go ahead and start tracking how many times your teacher/preacher says ‘um’ in his/her talks. My tracking record of a speaker is 214 times.*
*The above number is not entirely scientific. I fell asleep before he was finished.*
So what can we do to engage folks in these areas?
Intentional mentoring. Until most people are comfortable reading or praying in front of two people, they are not going to jump up and down yelling, “Pick me, pick me!” when you ask for a volunteer.
Read Scripture together at the coffee shop, just the two of you. Don’t assume they know where any books of the Bible are. Or how to look up chapters and verses. If they are unchurched, how would they know? After a few times of modeling prayers for them, gently ask them to say a short prayer (you can even coach them, saying something like, “Would you just say a quick prayer, thanking God for what we learned here this morning?”).
Baby steps. That’s how we all learned to walk. Let’s be intentional in mentoring and discipling our people. Let’s walk with them from where they are to where they can be.
That one guy who always volunteers to read and pray will thank you.
Peace. Pastor Greg
PG’s-13 is my chance to share my thoughts on life, liberty and the pursuit of the perfect church, all in 13 lines, paragraphs, bullet points, tears, etc. Go ahead, count ‘em.