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Drive By Witnessing

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were on a walk at a lake here in Colorado Springs. It was one of those quintessentially beautiful fall days, and the path was filled with people trying to soak in one of the last summer-like Saturdays of the year.

As we walked, two young men approached us, walking the opposite direction. As we crossed paths, one of them made an abrupt u-turn and began talking to us.

“Could I invite you to a community-wide Bible study?” he asked.

“Um, when is it?” my friend responded.

“Well, when are you free?” was his answer.

Well, that doesn’t sound like a community-wide Bible study, I thought.

It was an awkward conversation. We wanted to respect his obvious passion, but after a string of confusing Christian clichés, we politely excused ourselves and headed to the car.

I’ve thought about that encounter a lot. I’ve wondered what would have made it better. How that earnest man could have captured our attention instead of causing us to scurry away. And it struck me.

He didn’t even ask our name.

I think that’s my fundamental issue with that particular brand of “witnessing.” I have been boiled down to a project, a number, a jewel in his proverbial crown. And I don’t think that’s how Jesus did it.

When he had encounters, he learned names and stories and histories and sins and flaws. He touched and wept and prayed.

I know, I’m on a bit of a “story” kick. But I think that instead of inviting people to Bible study, we need to invite them into our lives. We need to treat people, not as projects, but as whole, complete, messy individuals.

So ask her name.

Hear his story.

Laugh with him.

Cry with her.

Live life, in all its messy, imperfect glory. Together.

Brandy Campbell

Brandy is a full-time writer at an international organization that works with more than 1.2 million children in poverty. She is a writer, a storyteller, a yarn spinner and a pen pal. She's also a baker, a world traveler, a daughter, a friend and an aunt. She hates mornings, olives, cheap pens, snakes and splinters.

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