This morning I met a lady out and about on the streets who objected to what I was doing… So what was I doing that caused such offence?
Well, I was handing out bottles of water and free hugs! Strange how it put her nose out of joint, I know.
Surprise surprise, this lady who had such a strong objection to what I was doing was a Christian. She reasoned that what I and my small team were doing was somehow conning people, rather than preaching at people. I write ‘surprise surprise’ as I am often overwhelmed by the encouragements of people on the streets who are often not ‘Christians’ and the times I’m discouraged are often by those who hold very strong opinions theologically and are keen to show my heresy!
I am always able to shrug people’s criticisms off like water off a ducks back, but her outrage got me thinking… How do people hear the good news when the language of the gospel, Jesus and God is something that can seem as gobligook or fairy tales to the vast majority of people who live in the UK?
Firstly, I have always believed that the good news needs to be understood as good news, otherwise it’s no news which is bad news! For the many many people this morning who received the water and hugs happily also asked for an explanation and we were questioned as to what we were doing.
Over half of those we met today asked why we were doing what we were doing and asked questions like ‘what is this in aid of?’ ‘Are you raising money for the church?!’ Or ‘why the free bottle of water, what’s the catch?’
I found myself saying time and time again:
‘Once upon a time there was a man who said if anyone is thirsty let them come to me and drink!’
Most people didn’t know that it was Jesus who said those words and we also offered Gospel’s of John if they wanted to find out more information.
Secondly, people we met this morning simply haven’t connected with what the gospel means and symbols, vechiels and gestures illustrate good news where words alone can’t.
Giving a hug is a symbol of what God is like, a symbol of love and a gesture of concern for those who long for human contact. To talk about it may be helpful, but to show it means so much more!
Thirdly, how else will people connect with the gospel unless Christians are willing to share the good news that they have? It’s easy to criticise efforts of others and do nothing. But more than ever now is the time to go and show and tell good news to generations of people who have yet to hear!
In what way are you helping people ‘hear’ the good news?
Chris Duffett is an artist, author, poet, speaker and street evangelist who founded The Light Project, a group of people who exist to reveal Jesus to those who have yet to make sense of the gospel. They also train people to be creative good news bearers who show and tell the gospel in ways people can understand.