Over the last several weeks, as I have visited with folks in America and interacted myself with many people. And I have started to see something... Awkwardness is one of the biggest hindrances to mission in the USA. Weirdness. It seems as though there are all these unwritten rules of the culture that are steering people:
- Faith is personal. Don't get into their personal life.
- This person will not like me anymore if I bring up God.
- People will think I am a weirdo and this will mess up any chance of real friendship.
- It is culturally inappropriate to evangelize.
- I am not perfect yet and they know it...so I probably ought not talk about anything too spiritual. They see me screw up on the regular.
- If they wanted this, they would have asked me already. They know I "go to church."
- I do not even know what to say or where to start, anyway.
- And on and on....
First of all, most of the above are not true. They are enemy lies against your assignment and you have chosen to believe them. Second, even if they are true, most people have convinced themselves that the awkward or weird outcomes are not a price they are willing to pay for the gospel to take root in the people around them. Seriously? Many believers have given their very lives in death for the sake of the cross and we won't suffer some awkwardness and break through a little bit of fear. God, help us!
Can I encourage you that the Lamb of God is worthy of the suffering and sacrifice that is due Him!! He is worthy of our lives and certainly our sense of ease or comfort.
Can I encourage you in that there are many, many people in your sphere who are desperate for Jesus and probably do not even know it! And they need you to be courageous enough to risk some weirdness for the sake of their future!
And here is a simple little piece of advice: The only thing worse than awkwardness is awkwardness that is not addressed and removed. If it feels hard or weird to bring up God, it probably is. So start there. Name it. Reveal it. Break into it. Something like this, maybe:
This is kinda hard to bring up and feels weird or scary because I know you may think I am a spiritual nut trying to force my faith on you, but.....I have encountered Jesus in so many ways that have changed my whole life that I cannot NOT tell you what knowing him and encountering him might do you for you too. There is actually nothing in the world more meaningful to me than Jesus and I would be stupid not to take the risk and tell you about my relationship with him, regardless of how awkward it may feel or how weird you think I am.