Since starting at the YMCA, I've had a really good chance to learn about a new culture; benefit Culture. Though I've learnt nothing new about benefits, leaning about the people that need, use and abuse the various benefits has been a timely eye-opener.
I hate few things in this life, but benefit cheats are getting close to the point where I'd need to write a list! In other cases I've seen where the system misses people, but for the majority of people, the various benefits provide sufficient support for people to rebuild lives and that's what I love about my job; restoration. I have the privilege of sharing in people's life stories.
Having had my world shifted in such a way, I am finding it so easy to look around me and see what bubbles the Christians I know are living in (and I do not exclude myself from this!) I do not see people deliberately hiding, though that may be true in some cases, but rather that our church culture is very good at being busy within the body of Christ. Most Christians I know spend most of their social time with Christians and lots of evening and time at the weekends at some meeting or other. This is not good, at least not long term.
The way I see it is, that if you suddenly decide to 'Evangelize' because you believe you should do and you have no regular contact with people who aren't Christians, then you will have no idea what to do. You can't learn what peoples lives are like by reading newspapers and watching television. You can't learn what peoples lives are like by listening to a good preacher. You can get to know people by doing ordinary things with them like having a drink in a pub. That's what relationship evangelism is really all about; No pressure, real, honest friendship - and that's something that seems to be very hard to learn in some churches!
There is, of course, something else about Evangelism. I'm thinking of writing a song with the line "If we don't tell them, they won't know" in it, but I think that may be a bit to unsubtle...watch this space.
So, in conclusion, I have decided that this will be my yard stick:
When I meet someone (Christian or not) will they bounce off my Christian bubble, or will they find a friend who's willing to share God's story?
How about you?