Coffee and Christ–Talking With Others about Jesus in Naperville
Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks in planting a church is sharing the gospel with unbelievers. How do I go about connecting with unbelievers? Who should I talk to? Where will this take place? Church planter Jamie Page–pastor of the Church of DeKalb–provided me with the helpful insight that working in public places, like Starbucks, affords us with opportunities to connect with unbelievers. He argues that buying an americano and working for a few hours at a coffee shop is similar to paying rent for a public space. Here, we are able to connect with unbelievers and talk with them about Jesus.
I have certainly found this to be true. This past week I connected with a couple ‘twenty-somethings’ local artists who were working on their drawings at a Starbucks in Naperville. After discussing their artwork, I explained to them that I was a church planter and was interested in talking with locals about the city of Naperville and belief in God. While they appeared uncertain and shy at first, the more we talked, the more they opened up!
It was interesting to hear their beliefs. One of them, Anissa, identified herself as ‘unsure’ about who God is. She told me that while she was raised Catholic, now she was in the process of exploring various religions and that she was particularly interested in Buddhism. Also, she said she was unsure about who Jesus was and what happens after death. The other artist, Sarah, told me that she believes in a higher power. She also opened up about how some very difficult events in her upbringing dramatically affected the way she viewed God.
Perhaps the most surprising thing that happened during our conversation is another person overheard us, and asked if she could participate too! She shared that she was a Christian and recently was baptized! Suffice to say, all three of them really seemed to enjoy talking about God and the big questions of life. I think that this is likely the case for many around us. There is a hunger to move past superficial discussions about movies, music, entertainment, and news and engage the big questions of our existence: Who is God? What is wrong with the world? Who is Jesus? What happens after you die?
I’m thankful that God gave me the opportunity and the courage to speak to these artists and to testify to them about Jesus, who died on the cross to reconcile them with God. Although I was nervous and felt unsure of myself when we began our conversation, I’m glad that the Lord helped me to speak up and later on in the day I felt a deep sense of joy in my heart. (Philemon 6 talks about how sharing the gospel with others results in us experiencing ‘the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ’) It’s wonderful to be an ambassador of Christ (2 Cor 5:18-21) and we should embrace this as our identity as Christians.
Please pray for Sara and Anissa. Pray that God gives them the gift of faith and repentance (2 Tim 2:25).