Some of my earliest experiences with getting to talk to people about Jesus were in college. I’ve shared before that I was in a metal band, so as you can imagine, there weren’t a lot of venues interested in booking us. Most of the time, we played bars and clubs. We had a pretty strict behavior code – we didn’t cuss or drink alcohol or smoke at the venues.
Probably because of that, the barflies figured out pretty quickly that we were Christians. Which usually went over like the proverbial turd in a punch bowl. It turns out that there’s not a lot of overlap between the folks who show up at a bar on a Saturday night for a metal show and the folks who show up in the pews on Sunday morning.
The exchanges were pretty predictable. We’d play our set, then clear our gear so the main act of the night could get set up. Then we’d head out to the floor and someone would approach us.
“Are y’all a Christian band?”
Our music had never asked Jesus into its heart, but that’s not really what they were asking. They wanted to know if we were Christians, and we were, so we usually just smiled and said, “Yeah.”
What happened next often moved toward combative. We got cussed out a few times. Other times people asked us what we thought we were doing in a bar, or if our pastors or professors (since we went to a Christian university) knew we were there.
It would’ve been easy to be offended. More than a few of those guys were spoiling for a fight, and religion is pretty easy to fight about.
We had to learn quickly how to defuse those situations, and some of the skills I learned in those metal clubs have served me well in the years since. Because conversations about Jesus often get contentious. We meet all kinds of resistance to sharing the Good News.
What do we do when those conversations get a little tense?
What does it means to keep relationship at the heart of our conversations, even when we meet resistance? How can we avoid insisting on being right about Jesus rather than inviting people to know Jesus?