Sometimes when you are buying something you need to try it out for awhile. While I shudder to equate coming to faith in Christ with ‘buying something’ there is some wisdom there. Even when people appear to accept Christianity suddenly it is often because of a series of ‘mini-decisions.’ Using Tim Keller’s Center Church as a guide, I’ve been looking at different types of these min-decisions. Awareness, Relevance, Credibility and now Trial. Here’s how he defines it:
4) Trial: “I see what it would be like.” They are involved in some form of group life, in some type of service ministry, and are effectively trying Christianity on, often talking like a Christian – even defending the faith at times. *
Keller doesn’t give his own examples of this one but I’ve witnessed this over the years. People aren’t quite ready to commit fully but they do want to ‘feel it out’. They may:
-start attending church services (usually sitting in the back)
-may come to a prayer meeting in a home (I did this!)
-may even assume some Christian vocabulary – “I’m starting to think about my ‘walk with the Lord'”.
What’s important is that we, the community of Faith, make room for people to explore. They may be trying to feel what it’s like. We don’t have to require great knowledge or spiritual commitment of people before they take part in prayer gatherings, for example. We shouldn’t hold back in discussing matters of faith just because there is someone around who might not quite ‘be there.’ They may need to hear us, and even participate, as part of their journey.
* From page 282 of Center Church.