Soft-Sell Tacos

Note: This post is adapted from an e-mail about Socrates Cafe, that I wrote to a fellow leader at The Core.

Funny thing…

Somebody came into the print shop I work at yesterday afternoon talking about how he wanted to start an evangelistic hangout for youth, and he mentioned the Front Porch as a place kind of like what he wants to do, but without the FP’s “soft sell”. What’s funny is, he was talking to me, but he didn’t know I had anything to do with it. So I didn’t tell him, because I enjoyed hearing his unguarded opinion.

The fact is, I don’t think we have a “soft sell” because I don’t think we have a “sell” at all. At least I don’t want to have one. Should an outsider’s experience with the church be more like getting invited to dinner with friends, or more like stepping onto a used car lot? Some of the things we do have a pointed spiritual emphasis, especially the worship gatherings, and also things like QAF, the Sisterhood and the Journeymen. And I actually miss the spiritual discussions I used to have with QAF.

But there also need to be non-spiritual things, to show people that that’s not all “church” people care about, or know how to talk about. I think it makes a big impact on some people to be able to sit down with a group of Christians and talk about political or social issues without there having to be some underlying spiritual principle behind it, or an overwhelming conservative bias. I think an environment like that, one that welcomes them in and wants to hear their view, gives them a fuller picture of who Christ is. But Socrates Cafe could never stand alone… it needs the more spiritual activities around it to make sure we don’t “de-spiritualize” Christianity altogether.

We’ve just started a series with Socrates called “pro-con”, based on the website www.procon.org, where we can work through some hardcore social issues, and really hash them out together, but in a respectful and thoughtful way. Last night we talked about legalization of Marijuana, and it was a lively discussion to say the least. If you’ve got ideas for upcoming topics, make sure to let me know…

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2 thoughts on “Soft-Sell Tacos

  1. Ryan,

    I agree with you. I’ve been a Christian for 35 years and experienced many different styles of ministry. One that I really miss is the rap sessions we had back in the 70’s. It was an open forum for discussions about whatever was on our minds. It brought some to Christ because we were honest and approachable. It sounds like you have brought back that tradition.
    Keep up the creative ways to reach out to everyone.

    Margaret Ferri

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