March 19, 2014
Conversations of Consequence and Baseball
I came across a very insightful piece written over at the Stand to Reason blog about sharing our faith and wanted to share it with you all.
For me, I used to believe in the importance of making people say “the sinner’s prayer” on the spot– get them to convert then and there. Now, I have begun to hold onto the view of relational evangelism, where it is a more longterm approach. There will certainly be opportunities to present the good news of the inauguration of God’s Kingdom through Jesus; however, most encounters will be “step-by-step” conversations.
J. Warner Wallace compares this approach to apologetics like hitting several singles in baseball during an inning instead of swinging for home runs. Soon, those singles will amount to something.
“I’ve been doing criminal interviews and interrogations for many years now, and I’ve interviewed a variety of criminal offenders (although most have been murder suspects). I’ve learned an important principle, analogous with baseball, in these repeated efforts to get to the truth: home runs aren’t the only way to score. In fact, there are times when swinging for the fences can be a distinct liability. Baseball games are usually won with singles and doubles; realistic efforts to get on base and let the next guy at bat do his job. I’ve learned not to make the “copout” my singular goal in interrogations. If I can score a home run and get a confession, great; if not, a number of lesser admissions will serve the same purpose when we finally get to trial. If I can get enough singles, I’ll still drive in a run…
Our private conversations with non-believers are similarly analogous to baseball. In every conversation I have with unbelieving friends, I am ever mindful of the value of singles. I don’t have to “win” every encounter. I don’t necessarily have to offer the Gospel or describe the Christian view of Salvation. If I get the right pitch, I’m happy to swing. But most of the time I’m lucky to get on base at all. With reasonable expectations in mind, I am happy to overcome a single objection or advance someone’s understanding just a base or two. In fact, sometimes the most important thing I can do is reflect the nature of Jesus as I listen and gently respond. I may not even get the chance to offer a defense or make a point, but my character will speak for me as I make the effort to get on base.”
Read the whole post here.