This is going to surprise you, but sometimes, I put my foot in my mouth. Mostly, it happens when I am awake.
One time, a few years ago, I was in a big meeting with the CEO of our 3,000 person company. Our CFO had been let go. I asked the CEO a question that started with me complimenting him on how they handled the whole CFO situation. Only when it came out of my mouth, I said this, “After the whole CEO situation, …”
He, being the CEO, immediately said, “I think you mean CFO.” Now most people, being wise and smart and not me, would have recognized the gravity of the situation and bailed out like Goose should have done sooner in Top Gun. Only I didn’t, in fact, here is honestly what I said,
“Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I know a few things you might not. I will say you’ll be able to spend a lot of time with your kids this summer.”
I didn’t mean to say that, most times I’m hearing things at the same exact time you are, words fluttering out of my mouth like intoxicated screech owls.
But as awkward as that moment was, it was nothing compared one of the most awkward moments we Christians can experience. I’m talking about those rare instances where someone tries to witness to you.
Has that ever happened to you? It happened to me last week in an email. But live is so much worse. You’re standing casually at a store in the Christian Inspiration section looking at books. An eager Christian sees you and thinks, “It’s go time.” And before you know it, what started out as a random conversation is suddenly a witnessing moment. With no warning you find yourself on the Romans road.
What do you do? You can’t just blurt out, “I’m in! I’m in already!” That would be rude and a little weird. But this is going to happen to you someday and I want you to be ready.
Five Ways to Respond When a Christian Tries to Convert Another Christian
1. Sing the chorus of “Blessed Be Your Name”
Softly, in almost a hushed whisper lean forward and sing, “He gives and takes away, he gives and takes away.” If they don’t immediately pick up on it, they go to some crazy kind of church that doesn’t sing Matt Redman songs. Back up slowly and once you are out of sight, sprint.
2. Front hug.
On the funnier version of the Office, 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin’s character once said that sometimes to get out of a bad situation you have to make it even worse. He called it his “Crevasse theory.” Same idea here. Though I am a proponent of the side hug, sometimes the only way to fix an awkward situation is to make it even more awkward. So instead of staring dumbfounded at someone witnessing to you, just front hug them. For a good 30 seconds just hold them there in Barnes & Noble, saying “Shhhhh,” if they try to speak up. They’ll probably walk away after that. Or arrest you.
3. Sign Language
Every Christian on the planet has at one point been in a youth group musical drama that involved sign language as a dance move. (If you’re deaf, this is ridiculous, right?) So if someone tries to “double save you,” show them the sign for King or Jesus. (If you didn’t immediately visualize both of those signs right now, I’ll pray for you.)
4. Show them your Christian Silly Band.
See, this is why we need them.
5. Buy them a copy of Stuff Christians Like.
They’re going to need it. And then show them the best way to position it on “best seller’s” tables. It’s probably the nicest thing you can do for them.
Although any one of those five options will serve you well in the field, I should say one thing. Make sure they’re not wearing a Barnes & Noble or Borders apron. Maybe they just want to help you find a book and when they approached them you hair trigger front hugged. And now you’ve got your arms full of part time employee.