Comfortable or Just Wimpy?

Those poor Mormon boys; they must hate it when they find out they have rapped on the door of a preacher. It’s been awhile since they knocked so I was starting to wonder if they have someone with a map somewhere putting little pins on it; marking where the pastors live so as not to stop by. But now I’m beginning to doubt there is such a map because we’ve been targeted three times in eight weeks by pairs of young men arriving on two wheels.

I have learned something about myself in these recent interactions. I am quick to the punch and brutally honest with my visitors. I rattle off a few statements that qualify them a cult and outside the bounds of orthodox Christianity. I implore them to read the Bible (not a LDS version) and to drop their extra-biblical writings they hold above Scripture. I ask them to do a cursory study of church history to better appreciate how God has preserved His church through the ages. Lastly, I challenge them with something like this: “Joseph Smith, really? An angel tells him in 1830 to start a new church because all the Christian ones are wrong? That guy’s life and story sounds pretty whacked to me.”

As they walk away, I envision one of them saying to the other, “Dang. We need to update that map.” I assure you, however, the above is all said with a smile, telling them I actually love them and will be praying for them tonight—that God will reveal Himself to them and they would come to know and believe the true gospel. But I must admit, I am far more aggressive with Mormon missionaries than I am with anyone else in my life and world.

Here are my thoughts why. I have one shot with these guys. I’m going to take it. My neighbor, on the other hand, has lived next door for years. There’s no “For Sale” sign in his yard. He’s not going anywhere. I will have many future opportunities with him. That’s not a bad strategy but here is what I am beginning to realize. Beyond inviting a few of them to church, I haven’t challenged any of my twenty year neighbors the way I challenge the young men at our door. What makes me think that’s going to change? I may be waiting for my high-bar definition of an opportunity that may never happen. But thinking that it might has put my mind and conscience at ease so I keep my spiritually challenging questions in my hip pocket where they are likely to stay for many more years.

So here is my challenge. Perhaps we need to be more opportunistic then our current comfortable (wimpy?) approach. That is, people don’t have to knock on our door with white shirts and a name tag for us to challenge their spiritual condition. Maybe we can do this leaning over the fence or when we bring our neighbor the extra zucchini from our garden.

The point being that we are ambassadors for our Lord all the time; not just when the Latter Day Saints come knocking on our door.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

June 12, 2014

1 comment

  1. You could invite them in, give them a cool drink, sit and chat with them. Then hit them with both barrels. We all know that that kind of ‘evangelizing’ never works, that one has to start a relationship of sorts to actually get the other party to listen.

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