Richard* did not believe in God. When he attended a meeting at Connecting Streams’ weekly ministry at a senior subsidized housing project, he made it very clear that he was an atheist. He sat with his arms crossed and listened to the conversation, but didn’t engage very much.
No one thought they’d see him again after the meeting, but to their surprise, he returned the next week, and the next, and the next. He regularly shared his stance on faith and his agnostic views, but he rarely missed a week in over nine months. The Connecting Streams leaders could see that he was suspicious of them, but he was also curious about what they came to say.
Richard would often get up in the middle of the discussion and head to the back of the room. The leaders thought he was about to leave, but he’d simply circle the snack table, refill his plate and coffee, and then return to the group. They were continually surprised at his interest and consistent presence in the group, and made a point to include him and answer his questions. Over time, the group conversations shifted into more direct conversations about God, His love for us, Jesus, and the importance of prayer.
One week after a lengthy discussion on God‘s love for us, the leaders noticed an opening in Richard’s heart. He was starting to be more accepting of the values they taught, and connected with the message about loving one another. At the end of that session, Richard stated, “Maybe I do believe in God now.”
The leaders were surprised and thrilled at this statement. The following week, the group watched the Case for Christ movie, which is about a staunch atheist who sets out to prove that God doesn’t exist, but ends up proving the opposite. Richard seemed detached the whole time and left after hardly speaking to anyone.
The leaders thought that his statement of “maybe believing in God” was short-lived and that they’d lost him. To their surprise and joy, Richard came back the next week and asked where he could buy that movie. He wanted to watch it again! He then took the initiative to find and watch other similar movies. He also started collecting different versions of the Bible and bringing them to the group.
Though Richard hasn’t made an official declaration of faith yet, the leaders can see that he is embracing God. His heart is getting softer and the leaders are confident that Jesus is touching him. They will continue to include him, pray for him, and love him, knowing that Jesus is drawing Richard to Himself.
*Name changed for privacy
|Decisions for Christ||199|
|Average weekly volunteers||181|