Start an Evangelistic Conversation or God May Start One For You

by Matt Rawlings

A pastor is on a rough plane ride on a Saturday night.  He is seated next to a woman who is clearly terrified of flying.  The pastor is used to turbulence and is trying to polish off his sermon for the next morning.  He has his Bible and a notepad sitting on his tray table. The woman cracks, grabs the pastor’s hand and asks, “How can you keep doing that?”  The pastor looks at the woman and says, “Lady, I’m a Christian.  If this plane goes down, I’ll be fine but if it lands, I have to get this done!”

Believe it or not, this is a true story and resulted in an evangelistic conversation.  I’ve had weirder things happen to start a dialogue about the Christian faith.

I was once seated next to an angry atheist on a long plane ride between Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona.  He kicked off our talk with a rant about our country going down the tubes.  Typically, when I meet such a person he (or she) lapses into a speech about anything from President Obama being a Soviet sleeper agent to something about the Illuminati (still not clear on who they are).  But this gentlemen targeted “right-wing Christians” as the problem vexing our great nation.  After a good half-hour of dissing pro-lifers, homophobes and “hypocritical televangelists”, he looked me in the eye and asked, “So what do you do?” I answered, “I’m a pastor and a lawyer for a Christian legal ministry.”

Dead silence. Blank stare. I have to admit I kind of enjoyed it.

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Finally, he muttered an “Oh” and went back to his drink. In fact, he quickly ordered another.

By the time the plane landed, however, we had talked about all the issues he had brought up.  I’d like to tell you that tears were shed and that I baptized him in a fountain outside Sky Harbor Airport but that didn’t go down.  What I did get the chance to do was tell him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which this angry gent clearly did not understand.

The angry atheist was under the impression that Christianity was all about trying to keep rules and looking down on others for failing to do so even though the believer was secretly violating many on his (or her) own.  When I told him that Jesus died to pay the penalty for sins and that he lived a perfect life in order to grant it to his believers so that they would be judged by it instead of their own flawed lives (2 Cor. 5:21), he was shocked.  He even asked…


Start an Evangelistic Conversation or God May Start One For You | Pastor Matt