Teaching those that hunger to know more about God and spiritual matters is a rush for me.
I don’t mean those that have always been in church and know all the right answers even though they don’t live like they do. John Maxwell called these spiritually fat.
“Christians are educated way beyond their obedience” ~John Maxwell
I love engaging those who really want to know about God. Their approach to spiritual matters is fresh and new. That’s why this synchroblog of Frank Viola intrigued me. Read the scenario and tell us how you’d address the problem.
Frank Viola’s Scenario
The following exercise is from the synchroblog at http://frankviola.org/2012/07/09/gospelforthemiddle
Fielding Melish and his wife Felicia have two children, ages 10 and 6. They live in a very remote part of Maine, USA. They are surrounded by extended family, none of whom are Christians. The nearest churches are one hour away, and by all evangelical standards, none of them are good. These churches are either highly legalistic, highly libertine, or just flat-out flaky.
One of Fielding’s cousins is a practicing Christian. They see each other once a year. Fielding’s cousin has shared Christ with Fielding many times over the years. Whenever they’ve talked about spiritual things, Fielding shows interest.
Felicia grew up in a Christian home. She’s received Christ, but she isn’t evangelistic and is overwhelmed with working long hours and raising two small children. She would love to find a church nearby for the spiritual support and instruction, but none exist.
Fielding has no college education. While he is capable of reading, he is not a reader. He doesn’t use the Web either. He’s a man who works with his hands, both for his career and for recreation. He’s an “outdoorsman.” He hunts, he builds, he does manual labor, etc. In his spare time, he helps his elderly parents with various building projects.
Fielding is not an atheist. Neither is he an agnostic. He believes in God. He believes Jesus is the Savior of the world who died for our sins and rose again from the dead. He hasn’t fully surrendered his life to Christ, but he is not sure what that looks like exactly. His children know a little about the Lord, mostly because of what their mother has taught them.
Recently Fielding asked this question:
When I’m with my cousin once a year, I want to learn more about God. But when I come back home, and I’m around everyone else, my mind is off of God, and I am back to working, raising my kids, and helping my parents. Someone needs to come up with a solution for people like me . . . people who are in the middle. (By “in the middle,” Fielding means someone who believes in Jesus, but who isn’t fully absorbed in the faith yet either. They simply don’t know enough nor do they have any spiritual support system around them.)
Relocating is not an option for Fielding and his wife. Even if they wanted to relocate, they don’t see a way they could do it financially.
Remember: Fielding and his wife don’t personally know any Christians. None of their extended family or coworkers are believers either. And the nearest churches (which are an hour away) aren’t recommended.
Question: If you were Fielding’s cousin, how would you instruct him and his wife the next time you saw them?
A few things I would try
This scenario excites me. A fresh slate to begin teaching about God’s love, his ways and his word. I see three maybe four steps that can be engaged to help Fielding and his family.
- If I were Fielding’s cousin, I would address Fielding’ desire to learn more first. We could build our relationship and interact through skype mentoring and/or video teaching at least once a week.
- Through the ongoing discussion, I’d bring Fielding to a decision point. I’d ask if he was ready to be fully engaged with God by talking with him and ingesting his Word (audio Bible). Based upon Fielding’s description, I believe he would want to make that decision if I helped him along.
- After he affirmed that personal decision in prayer, I’d begin to include his family in some of the video teachings. Let’s call this a personal house church with a distant pastor.
- With prayer and God’s timing, Fielding would grow confident enough to invite others into the house gathering so others can learn as well. At this point it might be considered a house church where Bible reading and discussion could take place.
Those are some of the things I would try to do. I’m sure there are many other things that could be done. How would you instruct Fielding and his wife?
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