Summer break is almost over. Time to head back to school for many and the end of summer vacations for most. I have always loved summer vacation, but my favorite kind involves a tour. I have been on all kinds of tours. I have found that, regardless of the subject, the tour guide makes all the difference. In my estimation, there are two types of tour guides. Some may be more gifted than others, but all fall into two categories.

The first kind of tour guide focuses on convincing you that what they are showing you matters. I will call them the convincer. They like to sell the exhibit. They like to convince us that what they are tasked with showing is relevant. They may even make a few jokes along the way. They know the facts but they recite them for the purpose of building toward an “ah-ha” moment in which we reflect on how what we are seeing matters to us. These tour guides seem knowledgeable and amusing, but their focus is on convincing us that we are gaining knowledge and having fun. These tour guides are fine and they can be enjoyable if I am swayed by their presentation. However, there is another kind of tour guide that I prefer.

The second kind of tour guide does all the things the first does, but they present to us in the form of a story. They also genuinely appear to care about the story. I will call them the story tellers. It is not that they are tasked with making us care, but that they assume anyone learning this story will care. Like the first tour guide, they are knowledgeable and amusing. The difference is that they are deeply wrapped up in the story of the things they are sharing.

Sometimes, as a Christian, I feel like a tour guide. We are called to share God with others. We have a fancy and scary name for this work. We call it evangelism. Maybe evangelism is scary for many of us because we think we are to function like a convincer, but I do not think that is what God has in mind for us. Instead we should be story tellers. We should share our experience of God. Instead of telling people about all the cool stuff at church, why not just tell people why church matters to us? Instead of telling them doctrines, why not tell them how God is at work in our lives?

All tour guides are awesome in my book, but the ones that invite me into a story leave me feeling part of the story. So the next time you cringe when you think of evangelism, just tell your story and invite the other to join in. This is, after all, what Jesus did. He shared God’s story and said, “Follow Me.”

Loving the tour,

pastorjimmy@nolensvilleumc.org