Don Sunshine. Yep; that's his real name. He travels around teaching Christians how to share their faith, something most of us find a bit intimidating. He hacks away at the fear factor that most people have as they worry about what others will think of them if they start talking about Jesus Christ, and does it in a gentle, yet convincing manner. Following worship today, he led a three hour seminar which was well attended and well done.
Many of us when we think of witnessing have this image of a sweaty guy in a white shirt and black pencil necktie holding a twenty pound Bible in one hand and grabbing his victim by his collar with the other, hollering right in his face, "Don't you want to get SAVED?" Or we think of Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on our doors at inconvenient times, pushing literature at us, trying to convert us to their religion.
I've been through Don's training before, and have actually taught similar material myself. What I've discovered though, is that it is easy to fall back into old habits of inertia when it comes to sharing my faith. Being an introvert, I don't initiate conversations easily, mostly because I don't assume people are interested in what I have to say. This however, is backward thinking. My real problem is that I'm more concerned with what people think of me than I am with what they think of Jesus Christ. It's not about me. That's probably the most important lesson that I need to remind myself of over and over again. What I've learned is that if I am interested in others, and express that with sincere questions, doors open. It's a mindset of asking God (as Ron Hutchcraft is fond of saying) at the beginning of each day to open doors, open people's hearts, and then to open my mouth. The best way I've found to actually initiate conversations is to find out what is important to people and then ask if it's ok for me to pray about that for them.
This afternoon I attended a recital by the young woman who is president of the bass society at the college. She graciously welcomed this old guy into the group, and led the cheering at my feeble attempt at the recital I had to give. Her recital today was a beautiful performance followed by a reception filled with friends and family. I didn't have opportunity to talk with her as I had hoped, but I did talk with her parents and wrote her an email congratulating her and telling her that I would be praying for God's best for her through the summer. It wan't much, but it was more than I would have done even a few years ago. It was simple though, to demonstrate interest in what she was doing, and letting her know that she matters to God. What he does with it remains to be seen, but rest assured, God knows how to do great things with the little stuff we offer to him. I am grateful for Don Sunshine's ministry, for the simplicity and sincerity of his presentation, and for the opportunity to crack open the door for this young woman today. I am praying God will use my words and circumstances that only he can arrange, to reveal his great love to her.