>>>How are we preparing to minister to a culture that’s increasingly hostile toward the Gospel?
This question has been ruminating in my heart for quite a while now. As I consider how the industry could have this focus, it leaves me with more questions than answers. Why would those unreceptive to the Gospel step into my bookstore? What would draw them there? What would they find inside, if they did indeed get that far?
We’re here to serve the church. The church knows us; it knows our message. Even more than that, they trust our business to be about Christ and His Gospel. That is who we are. How then do we minister (as a business) to those beyond our walls? Maybe we go where they are? A Galilean I know did the same thing. Mark 2 records the story of Jesus dining with sinners. He wasn’t hanging out with His own, but with “sinners.” When asked why He would do so, Jesus reminded them that He came to call sinners to Himself.
[quote]What would draw those unreceptive to the Gospel to your store?[/quote]
When we get to know skeptics, we break down barriers.
Next month we’re hosting a book table in a local brewery. Yes, a brewery! Author John Dickson will be hosting an event called “Skeptics Night,” asking people to come with tough questions about the Gospel. We’ll be there supporting sales for him.
I assume Christians and skeptics will be in attendance, wrestling together over the great mysteries of God. A pint of craft beer will be the great equalizer. This style of missional marketing strategy is aimed at one thing: building bridges. Those who would never think to enter a church would also never think to enter my store. When we get to know skeptics in a cultural arena, presenting the Good News unexpectedly, we’re intentionally breaking down barriers that keep them from hearing more. Bridges, on the other hand, build relationships; skeptics become seekers.
We’re now more aptly poised for expecting new customers braving our doorstep to find more answers. And we have answers in spades! We have Bibles galore and frontliners to help them navigate their way through. We have thousands of books to point a possibly softer heart to the One who loves them without reserve.
The opportunity to serve this author leads me to another question: As a Christian business, how do we respond to those who offend our Christian sensibilities? Is it more important to be right…or to be inviting? I want to be inviting so I have the chance to point anyone who will listen to the One who holds every answer.