The Mount Everest of Evangelism
Leighton’s son-in-law, Dr. Craig Gourley, is a physician in Charlotte with a heart for God and for evangelism. He often spends time with the Point Group, and wrote this reflection after the Group’s recent meeting.
I have always wanted to climb Everest.
The physical challenge.
The astounding views.
The stars with little to obscure them.
But to do it there are problems:
-Poor physical abilities in low oxygen air
-The cost is greater than $60,000
-Time off to train
-Risk (One third of those that make it to the top die coming down).
Long ago when I mentioned that I wanted to do mountain climbing to my eight-year-old daughter Christine, her innocent question to me was: “How hard is it to get a new dad?”
Thus endeth the idea.
I spent last week at a retreat with eight evangelists from several nations.
My father-in-law has been mentoring them yearly for twenty-five years. I have been “along for the ride” for the last ten years.
My pastor friend there from Germany, Roland Werner, gave me good counsel when I told him my men’s group was studying evangelism, and the Book of Acts.
I told him that I felt very inadequate as an evangelist.
“The exceptions in evangelism,” he said, “are those like J. John, Billy Graham, Leighton Ford. They can close the deal.
“We however are only a part of the process. We have the greatest influence with those in our social class, social context, and those with a shared history – those people who can relate to us. There is a natural group that fits.
“If a nonbeliever, open to Christianity, has enough “meaningful contacts” with believers, it takes an average of SEVEN YEARS for them to make a commitment to Christ…”
To finally see the big picture of someone’s faith journey and how it naturally flows, was a huge relief to me. In most cases, it seems like a much longer process than I thought. And it looks like there are many people involved, not just me. It seems like I am only being asked to:
care about other people,
be a good listener,
and be able to tell my faith story when prompted.
I will never summit Everest, but I can probably trek to basecamp.
And there are people I know that may want to walk with me.
Dr. Craig Gourley