Uphill and Greasy

Can’t believe it’s Friday already. I’ve got a lot to do today in prep. for this weekend. Hopefully my daily dose of Red Bull will get me through the day (I can stop anytime I want). I’ve missed the last couple classes at the university, so I’ve been catching up with my characters – I think I got down about 30 or so yesterday – which is really pushing it. It is certainly the trick of the language. No sounding it out – you either know the character or you don’t. Altogether, I’d like to learn a few thousand characters this year. I think then I could justify calling official language school a done deal. 

The past two nights, we’ve gone to English corners. Something I haven’t done in a long, long time. Primarily because I don’t like going; secondarily because I’m busy enough without going. But the other day I had a really strange/scary realization. Amazingly enough, though I live in the middle of China, I don’t have many friends that aren’t Christians! It’s really incredible how this happens! When we first got here,  I didn’t have any choice! If I wanted Chinese friends, I had to befriend non-Christians. So we did – lots of ’em. And now, almost all of those people have heard the Gospel and made their decision. The ones that decided to accept are the ones that I’m still hanging with. The ones that didn’t, for what are probably logical and good reasons, don’t find their way into my schedule. 

Turns out, even in China, you can build a Christian island around yourself. I mean, I’m discipling, teaching, training (or trying to, anyway) these young believers – but without lost friends, my own opportunities for personal evangelism are severely limited. And I can’t really delegate away or train away or preach away that responsibility. So though I get to spend most of my time in the middle or bottom of the funnel, I’ve felt that a return trip to the top of the funnel is really necessary for us right now. 

Anyway, in this system, visitation doesn’t really translate very well. I would venture a guess that well over 90% of students with us now are friends of friends of friends, maybe that we met when we first got here. So here’s some hopes I have for this new venture “up the funnel”: 

1) I don’t want to go it alone – though I’ve tried to teach the guys a lot about evangelism, due to our national situation, I’ve never taken them on visitation or anything. So I’m taking them to English corners, cafeterias, and anyplace else we can make contacts to show them how to do it. 

2) I hope the church gets addicted – we have to keep modeling evangelism for the church, especially until they “get it.” I hope we get some “evangelism junkies” – who have some real giftedness and a real burden for souls. 

3) I pray my heart is renewed – even Jesus took time on His journey to the cross to do personal evangelism – hardly the central work of His time on earth, but He still stopped to do it. Maybe just to show us how. But there is something irreplaceable about the joy from the fruit of personally preaching the Gospel to another. I certainly need more of it.  

4) I’d love to see some people added to the church – especially in this manner. I’m afraid the top of our funnel isn’t what it used to be. It’s still working, but we’d do well to drill again, add another pipeline. This area is far from “dried up” and we’ve got a lot of work to do.

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