“Learn to doubt your doubts.”
Powerful words from my pastor, Dale Hummel, last night at church. The sermon wasn’t even focused on doubts, but he touched on this briefly during a Q&A session after the sermon. This was what stuck with me from this weekend. I began to really think about that phrase… doubting your doubts. What does that mean in MY life? I don’t have doubts that God is sovereign. I don’t doubt that He created me. I don’t doubt the “big things” when it comes to my faith. But I realized that I DO doubt myself. I doubt my confidence in sharing the Gospel. I doubt my effectiveness in “winning people for Christ.” I doubt the impact that my music and ministry is having. But why? Can’t God use anyone and everyone to further His Kingdom? The answer to that is a big, fat, resounding: YES!!!!
Over the last few weeks, Dale has been challenging Wooddale Church to invite new people to church; people who don’t regularly attend other churches; people who don’t personally know Jesus as their Savior. To be honest, even though I’m on stage for all of those services where he presents this challenge, and I nod my head to acknowledge the importance of this, I have to be honest with all of you. I’m scared! I have SO much excitement and courage while I’m listening to the sermon, but the moment my boots step out of that big, safe, friendly church, I lose all courage. Suddenly, I’m back in the “real world”. A big, scary place that doesn’t love me, doesn’t look out for me, and certainly doesn’t want me to succeed. How am I supposed to feel bold and courageous if no one is going to be receptive? These are the thoughts that have consumed my guilty conscience for the last few Sundays while leaving church.
Many of you know that I am a self-proclaimed coffee addict. I go to Starbucks pretty much everyday, although it’s not always for the coffee. For the last 7, almost 8 years, I have been immersed in a Christian environment. I went to a small private Christian college, I worked at a private Christian high school, and now I work in a church. Needless to say, it is HARD to find friends who haven’t been in this same environment for any number of years. During the first year of my education at Northwestern College (now University of Northwestern- St. Paul… what a mouthful), I took it upon myself to frequent a small, local coffee shop called Billy’s. Billy (the owner) quickly became a dear friend of mine. I would sit and do my homework there for hours and hours (when I probably only needed a few hours), and Billy and I would talk about everything under the sun. He knew that I was a Christian and he knew pretty much everything about me. I never forced my faith upon him, but I wasn’t hiding it either. He invited me to play live music there every now and then, and we had a funny, quirky friendship. When I got a new job, I had to move to the other end of the Twin Cities, therefore having to disconnect myself from Billy’s. He cried! I never got to share the Gospel with him, but I KNOW that I was a positive influence in his life. Maybe I was just one person in his life who was Jesus to him. However big or small of a part I played, I know that he appreciated our friendship. Because of this relationship, I have been making it my mission to befriend coffee shop owners and baristas wherever I go.
In my current location, I have established many relationships with the baristas at MY Starbucks They all know that I work at the “big church down the road” and I have often used my singing as a way to invite them to church. I’ll often say “hey, I’m singing today… you should come check it out!” Of course, they never do. Haha! I can get pretty discouraged and sometimes it’s awkward when I come back the next day and they obviously didn’t take me up on the invite to church… but for some reason, the Holy Spirit gives me the courage to keep inviting them, week in and week out. And you know what? This week it stuck. Not just one, but TWO of them came to church this weekend!! I have no clue if they’ll be back, but I’m sure going to try my hardest to encourage them to come back!!!
Think about it… If small conversations here and there can propel someone who normally wouldn’t even consider stepping foot inside a church building to go check it out, why shouldn’t we step out in faith to invite them? After all, what is there to lose?
My challenge to you: Don’t be ashamed of your faith. It’s a large part of what makes you who you are. Don’t hide it for fear of being rejected. The world needs Jesus WAY more than you need a “cool” reputation.