About a year ago I’d just finished one of my Comedy and Christianity events when I was approached by an older gentleman – he was intrigued.
The aim of these events is to seek to change people’s perception of the Christian faith. The evening is an un-ashamed excuse to have a good laugh about life, but with a challenge to look closer at the Christian faith because things aren’t always as they seem. Off the back of these events people are often invited to come along to hear me speak on a Sunday morning a few weeks later.
Back to the gentleman. He came to see me as I stood at the door, and told me he had decided he would indeed come along to the service to hear me speak. Not because he was seeking after God per-se – though it’s clear now that he was – but rather he couldn’t get his head around the fact that a comedian would preach a sermon (his words!) .
To cut an eight-month story short, he was true to his word, and came along to church on that Sunday morning. And that very morning he came to faith in Christ. I met him a further six months on, and he came to see me with the biggest smile, announcing:
I’m still going strong you know, I’ve been to church every Sunday and now done Alpha.
This is one of many reasons why I value, celebrate and encourage what I call – the ‘healthy maybe’ in a person’s journey to faith.
This story is not uncommon. In fact I would say it’s the norm.
If you ever listen to someone telling you their story of how they came to faith in Christ, most people’s journey involved them at some point travelling through the ‘healthy maybe’ on their way to a ‘little yes’ and then a ‘big yes’.
I’ve met so many people when they’ve been in the healthy maybe stage, and it really excites me because they’re on the way. However, if we’re not careful, we can put such a big focus on a person committing their life to Christ – making the ‘big yes’ – that we end up not celebrating all the little decisions along the way.
I remember speaking to a lady who was disappointed and defeated because her husband didn’t commit to following Jesus at a particular event I was speaking at. She had been praying for him for 30 years. Yet that night was the first night he had come along to church with her, and he had been the one who’d asked her if he could come. That’s a healthy maybe! It might not have been the big yes, but it needed to be celebrated.
One of the biggest challenges I believe the Church faces is changing the perceptions people have of the Christian faith and Church. So whenever we see someone changing their perspective of church or being more open to hearing about Jesus, however small the change might be, this is something we should celebrate.
That’s why I try to build in a healthy maybe option whenever I preach the gospel, share my faith one-to-one, produce resources or help churches with their evangelism. I’ve had people come to see me at the end of my evangelistic events introducing themselves as a ‘healthy maybe’, and this makes me so happy as it means they’re on the way.