What size is your spiritual footprint?
What an awesome privilege to be immersed in something as exciting as Connect09. Every day I have encouraging conversations with people who are praying and planning with anticipation and expectation.
Even people who have heard little more than the name of the campaign " Connect " are getting fired up. They just get it.
One youth minister rang eager to share that Connect09 had inspired their church to start thinking about their "spiritual footprint' " both collectively as a body of believers in their suburb and individually in their own lives and networks.
What a great concept! In the same way that so many tiny, often unseen choices can contribute to increasing or decreasing our "carbon footprint', so it is that the tiny choices we make day-by-day will increase or decrease our "spiritual footprint'.
Things like making it a priority to pray for people. Taking the time to care about our neighbours and workmates. Offering to help, even in small ways. Sharing our time, our money, our possessions, our lives.
It is the many little things that " over time " earn the relational capital that allows us to talk genuinely with others about Jesus, rather than being a "clanging gong".
I suspect most of us are pretty sure God did not intend us to share Jesus via a sandwich board and a booming voice. Yet so often the way we do share Jesus must seem a lot like it to those on the receiving end.
We disclose next to nothing of our real life to a work colleague for two years, then suddenly ambush him with a prepared speech with diagrams he can take home. Yes, I've done that.
No, genuine connection is made when lives are shared. And genuine connection is both easy and hard. Hard, because it so much easier to thrust an out-of-the-blue invitation to a church event in my neighbour's hand than to let him into my life.
But also easy: not everyone can deliver a three-point evangelistic sermon, or quote the verses from all six boxes of Two Ways to Live; but anyone can be a friend. Anyone can pray. Anyone can care.
I am excited about Connect09 because my efforts to pray for my neighbours have been reinvigorated; because I am taking opportunities to get to know the other dads at school; because our church is praying and planning how we can be more involved in our local community. And it's fantastic!
Andrew Nixon is the Executive Director of Connect 09 and a minister with many years of parish-based ministry.