Meeting with Justin McRoberts

I was hanging out with Justin McRoberts today. The guy really makes me think. But before I get in to that I want to address something. Since I started working full time I’ve been doing this multiple personality thing. When I’m not working I’m Kevin D. Hendricks, Editor of ReALMagazine.com. When I am working I’m Kevin D. Hendricks Assistant Editor of passageway.org. It’s a very odd situation because I can’t be both people at the same time. Case in point: Justin McRoberts has done work for ReALMagazine.com–he writes the On the Road journal entries. He was coming through town and we decided to interview him for passageway.org. While I was talking to him on the phone about the interview I could only talk about passageway.org related stuff and not ReALMagazine.com stuff because I was at work. Billy Graham doesn’t pay me to talk about ReALMagazine.com stuff. It’s kind of a weird situation. And it gets even better. The things I write for work are actually owned by my employer. The Billy Graham Evangelical Association owns them, not me. So if I interview someone (like I did twice this week) and then write an article about it (like I did once this week), not only can I not sell the article again as my own, but I can’t even use the interview to write another article. The interview and the writing is all owned by my employer. It makes sense, but it just seems odd when you have all these different hats you get to wear.

Anyway, most of what I want to talk about from my discussions with Justin McRoberts today come from my time with him today while I was wearing my passageway.org hat. But now I’m wearing my ReALMagazine.com hat and I’m just going to usurp my power as passageay.org Assistant Editor and talk about some of Justin’s ideas. It’s not like this is the only time he’s talked about them.

One of Justin’s big things is what I like to call the Young Life evangelism method. Young Life is this Christian group that teaches adults how to reach out to kids. Their basic premise is that you have to earn the right to be heard. Before you can expect to share the gospel with someone you have to earn their trust and respect by simply loving them and spending time with them. In a way this is Justin’s model for ministry. So he was explaining how that’s how Jesus did things. Jesus went to the hookers and befriended them and hung out with them and told them about God. In our churches we think that’s a crazy thing to do. We never actually go to the sinners of this world and love them on their own terms. We always want them to come to our little Christian event and hear the gospel. But we haven’t earned their respect. We haven’t earned the right to be heard.

It’s an interesting concept which drew two thoughts to mind. 1) I found it rather ironic that Justin was hanging out at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association talking about how the church needs to be going and meeting people where they’re at, not expecting them to come to our Christian events. Of course that’s exactly what Billy Graham does, coordinate these massive Christian events. I wonder if there’s a way Justin and Billy could sit down and mesh their ideas together. 2) I wondered why Justin is in the Christian Music industry. If he wants to meet people were they’re at, why here? He said he’s here trying to earn the right to be heard. He doesn’t think he can just tell the Christian industry how to do things until he earns the right to be heard. Which makes him seem kind of prophetic. When he finally does earn that right to be heard, I wonder if we’ll listen. I also wonder what it would look like if he took his music to the mainstream culture and tried to earn the right to be heard. I imagine that he’d go far, and I’d love to see him try. I always feel like there are so few Christians who actually do that.

I’m filled with lots of thoughts today. Milo would say that’s a good thing. Because if you’re not thinking you better be careful or you’ll end up in the Doldrums. And I think the Doldrums are a nice and cozy hell.

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