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The Greatest Apologetic for Church Planters

Joshua Pickett

Joshua Pickett

Staff, Duluth Vineyard Church
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In today’s world, we have an overload of information on an endless amount of topics. Everyone is sharing their opinions and they all think they’re right. Arguments rage loudly. People are longing for truth.

As I seek to talk to people about Christ and the truth of scripture, I am always trying to learn better ways of communicating to those who don’t yet know Jesus.

Out of all that I have tried, really only one thing stands out to me that makes a significant difference: the lifestyle of the believer.

By actively loving people in simple kindness with humility instead of going around telling everyone what we think is true, we expose them to the character of Christ.

When followers of Christ live out the truth we believe and intentionally engage in the culture around us, people pay attention. By actively loving people in simple kindness with humility instead of going around telling everyone what we think is true, we expose them to the character of Christ. We reveal the good God we have come to know.

While we work with others, we are consistently seen in action. When we exhibit genuine concern for others, people will notice. When we are full of joy on a regular basis, people notice. When we communicate respectfully and refuse to compromise our integrity, people will notice.

Then they will come to you, asking why you do what you do. When they go through crises, they will turn to you for help. At that moment, you have an open door to introduce them to the God who changes lives. I have seen people give their life to Christ out of some of these conversations.

A couple of years ago, I befriended a new gentleman at work. As we got to know each other, I learned that he was an Odinist, a person who worships the Norse gods and lives their values. We continued to grow in friendship and had some great discussions about religion, the Bible, video games, and work issues. One day he told me, “you’re not like any Christian I have ever met”. This prompted me to ask, “how so?” As he began to share, I realized God was at work.

This gave me space to tell him more about the God I worshiped and this went on for months. One day while hanging out at my house, he started to ask very pointed questions about Jesus. He expressed feelings of emptiness and a desire to be more like me. I pointed him to Jesus and asked, “can I pray for you right now?” To my surprise, he let me!

As I began to invite the Holy Spirit, I could tell he was experiencing something significant. After we stopped, I asked him what happened. With big eyes, he told me he saw two Norse gods, Odin and Thor, walking and being overtaken by a huge light. They tried to fight the light, but their hammers and spears just bounced off. He said the light was so strong, but also very safe. I asked him, “what do you think it means?”

He told me, “it means your God is way stronger than my gods and I want to serve Jesus.” He surrendered his life right then and started joining me for a weekly small group. Not long after that, he started his own small group with his sister, her husband, and his mom.  

How we live tells a story.

People are looking for something that they can count on, something that will help them live a good and flourishing life.

How we live tells a story. This isn’t about eloquently explaining some theological truth, but living a life that has proven to be trustworthy. When people are humble, selfless, hardworking, gentle, and compassionate, it speaks of trustworthiness and wisdom. It is very attractive and quite rare.

As our lives reflect the character of Christ on a consistent basis, ministry will begin to happen all around us. An opportunity to love and serve people will always chase us down.   

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Joshua Pickett and his wife Laurie have been on a journey of discovery, joy, and pain as they have leaned into following Jesus. They are regular folks who have been captured by God’s heart. Their goal in life is to learn how to love God with all they are and then to give that away to anyone who will receive it. Joshua is on staff at the Vineyard Church in Duluth, MN. He is currently finishing up his BA in biblical studies and hopes to go on to graduate school and work on a MAT. He loves hanging out with his wife, CrossFit, and you can usually find him on his day off cooking up a big pot of some seriously good food.  

 

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