Saturday, September 24, 2005

In The Camp Of The Enemy

In his new book, "Organic Church," Neil Cole says something profoundly impacting. He says, "To reach the lost, you gotta sit in the smoking section." He's talking about how cushioned the church has become from the people we should be reaching. And, in many ways, he's right. I've said that for many years, but am really living it now.
I've actually had a couple of folks who read this blog ask me which coffee shop I've landed on. In case I didn't mention it, Aroma's is my new hang. While sitting there a couple days this week, I've noticed that there is a group that frequents there, and they are not the type groups I've found at the other coffee shops in town. So, this is where I'll wait for my first person of peace. It's not exactly the camp of the enemy, but it is a dark place. Pray for my light to shine brightly! God actually told me this would be the place about two months ago, and I just got side-tracked. My normal oikas (place to hang) has been Daybreak. But, back in July, they had a band and were charging a cover charge, and I was forced (because I'm cheap...) to venture out to Aroma's. The next time I was at Daybreak, lamenting the fact that I had been unable to enjoy Daybreak that night, God got my attention. He spoke to me about being in new places and meetin new people. He had been saying that to me for a while. It just took me a while to get it. And what a clue I missed that night as God showed me where I should be spending my time. So, here I am.
There is another place that I've camped, though, that will hit the enemy closer to home. I am serving in a volunteer position with American Field Services (AFS). They are an international agency for sending and placing exchange students. My position here in the Lubbock Chapter is that of Support Director. My job consists of spending time with the new students and their host families to ensure that their interaction happens in healthy ways. I am also responsible for making sure that problems get worked out. I am there for the host parents when the job is too big, or the week has been a long one. I am there for the students when life is overwhelming, or their family dynamic is too weird. Basically, I am a shoulder for them to cry on and an ear for them to speak to. Now comes the cool part: none of the students have relationships with Christ, and I think only 1 host family professes Christ. We had orientation today, and some of the students shared their "world view" of Christianity. In process, I realized they were raging against an institution, and none of them had encountered Christ. I found myslef in a discussion that most of us would have fought about, or at least fought to be heard. And it was okay to say nothing; to just listen. Most of them are liberal in their politics, and atheists in their beliefs. I've pitched my tent in the enemy's camp, right smack-dab in the middle of four families, four college students (liasons whom I will be training and supervising), 4 international students, and their four families in their home countries. Now comes the fun part. I get to be the presence of Christ in their lives and world. I will be as Christ, and let Jesus draw them in. I will serve. I will be patient. I will endure. I will not judge. I will take the high road. And in all that I do as a service to my King, may they see it and glorify God. We had several international students come to Christ last year without us having to convince them with our words. They came because of His life in ours, and His drawing them to Him. Once again, we're in the camp of the enemy, and we're going to stay put as beacons of light for those in the dark place.

2 comments:

3dfleming said...

Man, I'm gonna sound nerdy, but your post got me thinking about where I've camped out at. I've gotten to the point where I don't try to hide my addiction to video games anymore and for the most part Christ is cool with it. It's gotten to the point that I spend a fair amount of time in video game stores such as Gamestop and EB Games. You talk about some lost people! I've had some of my most interesting conversations with people there, both costomers and employees. Every conversation starts out with what games you like/are excited about and every person always asks me why I favor Nintendo over its competitors (b/c I'm now in the vast minority). After proving my case that Nintendo systems have the most "must-have" titles and innovations, I usually throw in something about how I'm a youth minister and love to play N's sillier multi-player games with students (w/o the worry of parent phone calls). It's the easiest and least threatening transition to a spiritual conversation I've found and it's becoming a regular part of my week. If I ever work for Barry, that's going to be my "real job" on the side. It's hard to beat what I'm doing now though.

The Bishop said...

So, have you got a game cube you'd sell my kids?