Enter the mess

BasketballI have always been athletic. I have a few athletic letters to my name. I was never a Michael Jordan or LeBron James when it came to basketball. Nor was I Justin Verlander or Mike Trout on the baseball diamond. Even though time has slowed me a step or two, I can still hold my own in most athletic contests (unless it is one-on-one against my brother Scott, then I have to cheat).

One thing I have missed in the recent years, and especially these last couple of months, is having a direct outlet into my community. When we moved to Chicago I joined a Toastmasters (public speaking club) group in Gurnee, IL. The first and third Monday of every month I would go and gather with people who may or may not have any church background. These interactions added perspective and color to my ministry. If all of my interactions are inside church world, then I quickly lose relevance with culture at large. So last week I found a local Toastmasters club and attended for the first time. I will probably join the club and begin to build relationships with those in the club.

One of the benefits in my compensation is a membership to our local YMCA. I had noticed that they have a Men’s Basketball group that plays from 6-730am every Tuesday and Thursday. Well, I am not a morning person, but I do need to exercise and basketball is one of my favorite ways to get some.

So I roll out of bed before the sun is up and make my way to the court. I must have taken my cement shoes because men close to my Dad’s age were going past me (wow, I am out of shape) and I couldn’t make a layup or most shots to save my soul (good thing that is already taken care of).

It has been good to be in these kinds of surroundings again. To be a person, not necessarily a pastor (though that will come out soon enough), and to think of ways to build relationships with people who may be far from God. If we never make connections with people,  then it makes it increasingly difficult to share the Gospel in a way that they will hear it best.

Some people need to debate. Some need facts (and just the facts). Some people have spiritual baggage that needs to be unpacked before they can hear. Others will come with physical or emotional pain that has kept them from God. We won’t know until we enter the mess, and we can only enter their mess if we meet them on their court (basketball or otherwise).

Be bold. Be strong. Enter the mess.

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~ by mikefoster on September 17, 2013.

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