Reaching the Receptive
Some of my favorite conversations are the most random. I hear from the woman cutting my hair that she is searching for a church where she can receive help for her spiritual journey. As I listen to a guy in a hospital waiting room, he mentions that he wants to know more about Christianity. My real estate agent has a desire to visit my church simply because I invited her.
Receptive people are everywhere. They are searching, and they want to know more about what a real faith looks like. As I congenially converse with normal, everyday people, I learn that they may not agree with everything I have to say. But they respect the Truth, and they enjoy hearing about my faith. While the unchanging gospel will always offend some, I come across people weekly that are receptive to hearing about Christ.
Understanding this receptivity, however, is critical in reaching them. Many are struggling with conflicting emotions and goals. As believers, we must understand where they are in order to best communicate the timeless truths of the gospel. The Barna Group recently released a study that captured some of these inner conflicts of Americans. Reading the below excerpt from the study made me think of several conversations I recently had with people from the community.
While most Americans want clarity about their life’s purpose, they portray a personal search that is challenging and often conflicted. At times Americans put a positive face on their reason for being; other times they admit to not living up to their ideals. For instance, while 71% of adults believe they are “fulfilling their calling in life,” 51% also say they are “searching for meaning and purpose.”
Another conflicted self-assessment shows up when asked to describe their sense of peace and simplicity in life. Most Americans feel “very much at peace with life” (84%) and the vast majority say they “live a simple life” (84%).
However, most Americans also acknowledge they need to make major life changes. For example, most adults reject the statement “you would not change anything significant about your life” (55%). Also, their sense of peace and simplicity is often thwarted by their strong desire to make more money and do more in life: seven out of ten Americans say they are “totally committed to getting ahead in life” (68%).
These internal tug-of-wars can leave people without a clear sense of direction. Only the clarity and the simplicity of the cross will give people a true and fulfilling sense of purpose and direction. And we must understand people’s stories in order to best communicate this message.