“Dad, at youth group there was another visiting preacher..,” my kids shared their frustration, “and there was another altar call.” My children were raised in YWAM, so they were surrounded by Christians all the time. They regularly enjoyed worship with young people from around the world who had counted the cost to follow Jesus on his mission to reach every person with the good news.
Our kids regularly shared meals in our home with students from countries like China, Japan, Singapore, India, and even Saudi Arabia. Many of the conversations at our table were all about introducing our new friends to Jesus Christ.
So, the high pressure pitch of altar calls were a foreign experience for them. Many Christians today have come to faith in Christ through altar calls. However, my kids had a different evangelistic style modeled for them. They experienced a life-style evangelism and a personal witness shared at the table.
There are no bright lights or sound systems at the dinner table. There’s no music and nobody singing, “Just as I am.” There’s no preacher following the altar call method they learned in seminary or Bible school. The profession of faith is not driven by the roar of the crowd’s approval. It’s eye-to-eye FaceTime at the dinner table.
Today, the relational approach to sharing Christ seems foolish. This table talk approach is what Paul modeled. He convinced the Jewish believers that they must sit at the table if they are going to reach their Gentile neighbors, the Greeks and Romans, Persians and Egyptians, and beyond. Just think, if it weren’t for Paul’s foolishness, and the slow church Jesus modeled, we would not have a feast to look forward to.
“Let me come back to where I started—and don’t hold it against me if I continue to sound a little foolish. Or if you’d rather, just accept that I am a fool and let me rant on a little. I didn’t learn this kind of talk from Christ. Oh, no, it’s a bad habit I picked up from the three-ring preachers that are so popular these days. Since you sit there in the judgment seat observing all these shenanigans, you can afford to humor an occasional fool who happens along. You have such admirable tolerance for impostors who rob your freedom, rip you off, steal you blind, put you down—even slap your face! I shouldn’t admit it to you, but our stomachs aren’t strong enough to tolerate that kind of stuff. Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much (remember, this is your old friend, the fool, talking), let me try my hand at it. Do they brag of being Hebrews, Israelites, the pure race of Abraham? I’m their match. Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.)”
2 Corinthians 11:16-21 MSG