On the hottest day of the year, hours from home, Ryan’s car broke down on the shoulder of the highway outside of Birmingham. With the sun scorching down
on him, he sought shade as he waited for a tow truck to come to his rescue.
After hours of being stranded, hot, hungry and tired, Ryan found himself in the dirty cab of a tow truck with a man very unlike himself. His driver, Dan had a criminal past and a lack of professionalism. He talked on the phone while speeding down narrow, winding roads, cutting off other drivers and running red lights. But when Dan asked what Ryan thought of clairvoyants and the afterlife, he opened the door for Ryan to share his faith and the gospel of Christ. Even though Dan was wary of Ryan being a “church man” because, like many people in England, he was not a fan of the church, he still felt inclined to listen and wanted more answers.
Ryan relates evangelism in England as a “conversational boxing match.” As you’re talking, there’s a lot of bobbing and weaving as excuses come up to avoid anything landing. There’s even a lot of jabs and poking at things the Church has done in the past. Ryan describes taking hits with grace and even offering a joke or two to connect and disarm. Then delivering a blow of his own, as he redefines a Christ-follower based on his own life. Admitting that the church has made mistakes and apologizing for any hurt that was caused, he explains that ultimately what matters is that God loves you and wants a relationship. “Being in a post-Christian context, everyone has a definition of what Christianity is,” he says. “Our main job, is to give witness and reorient people’s perception of what it looks like to follow Jesus.”
With Dan’s interest peaked, Ryan began to reenvision church in a way that was relatable and even enticing to Dan. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, he said, “Imagine if you had the greatest dad in the world, and every Sunday was Father’s Day. You would want to get all your siblings together and tell Dad how awesome he is and how thankful you are. This is church.” He went on to redefine praying as simply talking to Dad and reading the Bible as just reading Dad’s story of what He’s done. Clearly seeing things from a different perspective, Dan accepts Ryan’s challenge to read the book of Mark and to start praying.
What seemed like a day full of delays and interruptions to his own plans, turned into a day Ryan was given the opportunity to live out the mission of witnessing to the people of England about a loving God who wants a relationship with them. In the unplanned moments and even inconvenient setbacks, God can still use us to spread His love to those around us. He will open the door, we just have to be willing to walk through it.
About the author:
Katey is a missionary storyteller with Greater Europe Mission preparing to serve in Spain. Check out thegroundedwanderer.net to learn more.