Living in the secular northwest and attending a college known for its anti-religious bias, Donald is determined to relate positively to the people around him without being “churchy” toward them. So he befriends the most anti-Christian people he meets, in hopes of showing them the love of Christ by his actions. Then when they go through a crisis and tell him about it, he asks if he can tell them about his faith in God. They always say YES. Why? Because they know he cares about them personally. The book is filled with real-life stories of how one young man befriends those who can’t stand organized religion … and how they eventually open up to him about their religious questions.
That is how I want to relate to my neighbors who don’t have a relationship with Jesus. I want to become their friend, earn their trust, and be there for them when they face a crisis. I want to pray for them to be open to God’s love. Then if they ever give me the chance, I want to tell them about my faith in God. I also want to invite them to come to PRESTON TRAIL to meet great folks like you, and hear exciting music, and listen to messages that are (hopefully!) relevant to their lives. That’s what I am committed to doing.
Apparently many of you are doing this already. How do I know?
Since the first of the year, 36 people have come to PRESTON TRAIL Sunday services and identified themselves as first-time guests. Not surprisingly, 23 of them came at the invitation of a friend! Those who did the inviting are following Donald Miller’s example in Blue Like Jazz. Or as we like to call it at PRESTON TRAIL, they are living out our strategy of Investing and Inviting – investing in the lives of people and inviting them to come to our services.
There are tens of thousands of people within a ten-minute drive of Stonebriar Mall who do not go to any church on a regular basis. (If you don’t believe me, compare Sunday AM traffic on Preston Road or Dallas Parkway with Monday-Friday AM traffic!) These folks do not know the peace, comfort, or sense of purpose that can flow out of a relationship with God. They do not know the richness of community, the joy of service, or the wisdom found in the Bible. Simply put, they do not know Jesus in a life-changing way.
With these multitudes all around us, what does God ask that we do? Simply this: befriend them one by one and care about them like He cares about us. A year or two ago in a Sunday message Jim gave us a formula that works every time: “Love them until they ask why.” Then when they ask why, tell them: it is God’s love that makes you love.
Whom are you investing in and inviting to PRESTON TRAIL these days? What faces came into your mind as you heard about the story of Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz? Today ask God to give you opportunities to invest and invite, for the sake of those who need to know Christ but haven’t said YES.
Paul Basden, Senior Pastor