I’m going to share something really embarrassing today. Actually, I’m kind of hoping no one reads this blog; which is why I’ve tucked it in the middle of the week. But I feel it needs to be told because it might help some of you. Painful as it is, it sure helps me to tell it.
This morning, I passed by a car that was stuck in the left turn lane. I wasn’t sure if the battery died or the car was stalled, but who cares? It wasn’t my car or my problem.
As I drove by, the Spirit said, “Aren’t you going to stop and help that person?”
I tried to ignore God. Besides, it could be a rapist, thief or murderer driving that car.
But God would not quit. Quite reluctantly, I turned the car around and drove back.
It turns out that it was a middle aged woman and she needed help. I stopped and tried to help move the car out of the intersection, but it wouldn’t budge. So I called Auto Club and had them send a tow truck to help move Darlene’s (not her real name) car. As we waited we had a conversation. She mentioned that she was praying for help and that God sent her an “angel.” (Smile.) I told her about my conversation with God that led my back to help her out.
We then talked about the Lord, churches and people in her life. She told me that her boyfriend is not a believer and that they get into a lot of arguments when they talk about God. I, now wearing my “pastor hat,” gave her some great tips and ideas on how to share her faith with him.
The tow truck and the boyfriend arrived at the same time. We had the car towed to his house, which was just around the corner from where she was stranded. I had a short conversation with the boyfriend, we’ll call him “George.” George was thankful. And I explained, “I saw her car and a voice in my head told me to turn around and go help Darlene.” And we parted.
“A voice in my head”???? I can’t believe I didn’t say, “God told me to turn around.” Why was I so reluctant to just give God the glory by mentioning Him by name? At worst, I could have said something non-evasive like, “The Man Upstairs,” or “The Good Lord.” And Darlene was in earshot of my comment. I wondered what she thought of this “pastor” who was too afraid to use the word “God” with her unbelieving boyfriend?
Let me tell you, the voices really took over my head from that point on!
After spending the next 30 minutes confessing my sin profusely to God and driving out the accusing spirits of darkness (I now see where “Legion” went after they inhabited the pigs), a sober realization came to me:
I am afraid to talk with unbelievers about God.
I’ve been a pastor for 25 years. I have a doctorate in Ministry. And I’ve actually led dozens of people to Christ over the course of time. But at this moment in 2013, I am afraid to talk with unbelievers about God.
And I don’t think I’m alone. I think there are many, many Christians who are afraid to do this. I think there are many, many pastors who are afraid to do this (and some of those who aren’t afraid tend not to do it very well when they do).
So rather than beat myself up, I sought help. I just happened to be meeting with my accountability partner, Gary (his real name), later that day. Gary is a pastor at another church in town. And we’ve met every other week for the last 20 years. We talked about it and we decided to make this – personal outreach – an issue of prayer, discussion and accountability. He candidly told me that he also needs to grow in this area. And so we are going to start this journey together.
As pastors, it’s easy to put personal outreach on the “back burner.” After all, there is so much work to be done in “taking care of the sheep.” And we tell the sheep that they need to grow in personal outreach, because there are lost people out there who need to be saved. But are we willing to engage in personal outreach ourselves, or do we simply delegate it to the “sheep”?
For me, this is all part of my Whole Life Worship to God. I need transformation in this area of my life. I want to give glory to the God who loved me, saved me, and redeemed my life; and not to some “voice in my head.”