A Child-like Faith
by Lee Strobel
When I make evangelism too complicated, I think about Jack – and suddenly I gain clarity again.
For a long time, I wondered whether Jack really understood what he was hearing as he sat in our services week after week.
Jack lives in a residential facility for the developmentally disabled in suburban Chicago, and a volunteer from our ministry to mentally challenged adults would bring him to our church each Sunday morning.
Jack would always sit near the front. When the service was over, he would amble over to the pastor who had taught that day and begin talking in a low mumble. His brown hair would be tousled, his clothes disheveled, his tie askew. His face would have stubble and his thick glasses would be smudged.
I don’t know the diagnosis of Jack’s condition, but for the most part his thinking is unfocused and much of the time his speech is a string of disconnected thoughts. Although he’s an adult, talking with him is similar to communicating with a child.
Then one Sunday, when Jack came over to me after the service, I saw that his right arm was in a cast and sling. I pointed to the injury. “Did that hurt?” I asked.
Jack glanced at his arm and then at me. He replied in his halting voice: “I come here… and hear… about Jesus…and I think about… all the pain… he went through… for me… and I think… this was nothing!”
That’s when I knew that he understood. “Jack,” I said as I reached out to hug him, “that’s the most profound thing anyone has said to me for a long time.”
There’s no doubt that Jack loves Jesus. And what happens when a person truly adores someone? He can’t keep it to himself. So he routinely tells the other residents and staff at the facility where he lives that Jesus loves them. He encourages them to visit “my church.” (He’s very proud of his church.)
In his group at the facility, the attendants give each of the residents half an hour a day to play whatever they want on the tape machine or radio. Most put on the ballgame or music, but not Jack…
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