Last Saturday night we hosted our monthly Starting Point event: a three hour, no holds barred, newcomer extravaganza designed to help connected people become committed people. It was by far the largest group of people we’ve ever had to complete the process in one evening: well over 100 folks ate chicken and heard about becoming a part of the mission of the Summit Church and the kingdom of God.
One of the features of the evening is always a thorough explanation of the gospel. I figure it doesn’t make sense to have a captive audience and not explain the most important characteristic of who we are as a church. So for 15-20 minutes of the evening, we walk from Genesis to Revelation, capturing the big story of the great exchange: our death for Jesus’ life.
After the event was over, I met Tracy. Tracy is a 39 year old mom of three who is new to the idea of the evangelical church. She started coming a few weeks ago at the beginning of our All In series, which is always a great time for new people to show up. (“Hey. You’re a sinner. Plus, let’s talk about your idolatry of money. And then, we’ll punch your grandma in the face.”)
Tracy told me that things “started clicking” in the middle of this series. She understood the gospel in the way she never had before. Things began to make sense. Jesus made sense. She came back week after week to hear more. She showed up at Starting Point, where she was inundated with another gospel presentation and a bonafide, genuine, bow-your-head-and-close-your-eyes, nobody-looking-ar0und invitation.
But it wasn’t until after Starting Point, when Tracy sat down with Drew, her table host, when the gospel stopped being intellectual and started being personal. Drew wisely walked her through her story, connected her story to God’s story, and asked the question, “Do you understand this?”
Tracy replied that she did. She got it. She recognized her sin and her need for a savior.
And then Drew closed the deal: “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t make this decision right now?”
There wasn’t. And on a little black folding chair on a fall Saturday night, Tracy met the creator of the universe and the redeemer of her soul.
Too many times, we’re content to share content. We toss out lots of information about how salvation happens, but we stop short of asking the question and closing the deal. We walk people down the Roman Road, but we fail to steer them to a point of decision.
I’m thankful for table hosts like Drew who listen carefully to the voice of the Holy Spirit. I’m grateful that nearly every month at Starting Point, we are seeing stories of life change. Not necessarily because people are hearing the gospel for the first time, but because an individual is looking them in the eye and asking them to deal with the gospel for the first time.