Recently, I was given the opportunity to perform the wedding ceremony of my neighbors (who are not Christians). It was one of the coolest things I have done in a while. The best part was being able to share the gospel with them. I had some observations from the wedding:
1- Everyone understands love it is not solely a Christian thing. The Bible tells us that God is love, this I do know. I also know that love is shared among those who are not Christians. I do not totally understand the theology behind it all, but to belittle their love is to belittle their entire being as a person.
2- NON-Christians don’t want to only hear the gospel, they want to see it. We share the gospel with words, we show the gospel with grace. A Southern Baptist preacher sharing the gospel and performing a ceremony in front a crowd of drunk people may not be ideal, but it makes a point. The point: you matter, I care about you.
3- Other people have convictions. They have a system of rights and wrongs that matter to them. Having life experiences and being raised a certain way helped create these convictions. To frown upon their personal convictions does not make you more Godly or them more open to hear the gospel.
4- EVERYONE has a story. The bride and groom cared very little for the fact that I went to church; they cared greatly about the fact that I had a story. They cared about my story because they have story to tell as well. Their story, at least to this point, just hasn’t been changed by the gospel… yet.
5- The Bible has value in the lives of Non-Christians. Reading 1 Corinthians 13, Genesis 2 and Romans 5 at a wedding in front a group of people without visible faith was incredible. Having the bride and groom like, and then get excited about hearing the Bible read was even better.
6- You don’t have to drink champagne to fit in, sweet tea works fine (and tastes better). Non-Christians with their “devil’s juice” do not expect you to be someone you are not, nor change your convictions for them (see #3.) Not once was I viewed through some sort of narrow lenses as to why I wasn’t drinking alcohol.
7- Christians are awkward. When the Bible says Jesus hung out with and ate with sinners, it doesn’t say he stood in the back while everyone drank wine awkwardly. It alludes to him being there in the middle of it. We will never be taken seriously if we stand against the back wall with judgmental eyes. Rather, we must step out, sit at the table with “sinners,” and join them in conversation. Maybe even get on the dance floor with them.
8- No one cares that you are a Christian, or for me a Pastor, until you care that they are a person. Christians must remember we aren’t selling something. Jesus isn’t Arbonne.
9- Hearing Tom Petty & the Heart Breakers at the ceremony was surprising and fun. Hearing Journey made me laugh. Hearing Savage Garden made me cover my ears. Hearing Switchfoot reminded me why I was there.
10- Non-Christians do not understand our Christian vernacular and way of speaking. It is almost a different language to someone who doesn’t go to church. Christians sound goofiest when they speak in Christian jargon. Please stop.
11- My faith mattered to them, and I was respected for it.
12- When others know you care about them, and you choose to serve them first, they might be more willing to hear you out. And potentially more acceptable to the gospel.
13- Non-Christians have friends who are also non-Christians. Non-Christians have family who are also non-Christians. Non-Christians have co-workers who are also non-Christians.
This blog post was written by Joshua Glymph, High School Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.