E-flections: Meeting People Where They Are
Among the mysteries of Jesus, what intrigues me most is his way with people. Not so much His dealings with the crowds, but the way he engaged individuals. There He is, three years to accomplish His mission—the clock is ticking—yet He stops and talks with a Samaritan woman. He notices Zacchaeus sitting in a tree…he stops, looks up and suggests they get together for dinner. He discusses the Bible with Mary in her home, pausing only to gently chide Martha, her obsessive-compulsive sister. Though purposeful and always active, Jesus seemed to have time for individuals. He didn’t brush people off—unless he detected insincerity and what he called a hard heart. But if people merely opened their hearts, if they expressed some measure of genuineness, even though imperfect and flawed–he accommodated himself to them, poignantly, delightfully. He met people where they were. He spoke one way to a centurion. Another to an inquiring Pharisee. Still another to a blind man, a beggar, a suffering woman, a thief.
A key element in our Mosaic strategy is to personally meet people where they are. People in leadership positions–education, healthcare, business, government, media. Everyday people–in the check-out line, at Starbucks and Fridays. Hurting & broken people–in the hospital and in the home.
We seek to meet people where they are, not only geographically but mentally and emotionally and spiritually. We accept the responsibility to discover how people think about spiritual things. How they process life and religion and truth claims.
It is our firm intention to pursue, as Eugene Peterson put it, a long obedience in the same direction. Admittedly, this takes longer. It is not a quick-fix. It is not microwaveable. There isn’t an app for it. Rather, it’s our passion to understand our community—not in superficial ways, but profoundly, where the mind intersects the heart. Where the world’s deepest pain meets God’s truest love in Jesus Christ.
The Christian group MercyMe sings it this way:
If we’re to be the light that shines for all of men
Then how can we light the way if we don’t go to them?
I believe to know God’s heart is to meet them where they are.
Won’t you shine on? Won’t you shine on?
You can shine on! Shine on!
Are you meeting people where they are?
By Pastor Jim Eaton
Mosaic Church, Fredrick, MD, www.mosaicmaryland.com