The very reasonable question, now that persons are starting to be converted in the satellite centers (Starbucks, Fitness Center, Referee Chapter) is the one I keep hearing. Now, with these persons coming to Christ, how will you lead them into your local congregation?
I can only give you my conviction on this subject. That is, I think it is better to continue the conversation within its context. There are various reason for this and I know a few of them. To explain my feelings, I have to ask readers to accept the initial statements and interpret the nuancing.
- We are not converting as to life-style. That is, converts who remain in context may (will) still wear their tattoos, piercings, dark clothing, et al. They will not immediately be found in the third row, coat and tie, though that option is certainly open. It is simply not required.
- We are not converting to middle-class mindset. Some of the things educated, salaried, middle-class persons take for granted seem somehow Utopian to the convert, or, in fact, may seem a bit of a "comedown" to upper socio-economic persons, who are listening as well. In the gym the other day, an owner of several local businesses confessed Christ within my hearing in terms so achingly theologically beautiful it would have caused your breath to stop. He will probably not start to attend divine services right away, or, perhaps, never. However, he has offered other opportunities for conversation since then and this is our "Sunday School."
- To take converts out of their context almost certainly puts them in a situation where their testimonial influence will serve more as a novelty than as effective evangelistic leadership.