Written by Patrick Erskine
I hate conferences—Christian conferences especially. They’re crowded with goofy-grinned, bible toting keeners. You know the ones; they raise their hands and dance during worship like they’re drunk on Jesus-juice, hand out side-hugs like they’re going out of style, and can’t wait to ask you how your walk with God is going. If you don’t know the type of person I’m talking about, you’re probably one of them.
God Saw Through My Act
I don’t think like that anymore, but that’s how my enlightened self-righteous little mind worked back when I was in second-year university. I didn’t talk about it much because I didn’t want everyone to hate me, but that’s what used to run through my head whenever I hung out with other Christians. So how did I even end up at this conference to begin with? Well, to tell you the truth, I hadn’t planned on going. I joined Power to Change in my first year of university, but skipped P2C+ the first time around because I had no interest in attending. The second year around, one of my family friends asked me if I would attend. I told her probably not, citing financial strain as the primary reason for my disinterest. Shockingly, she handed me a cheque that covered the whole cost, and grinned at me knowingly. She saw through my act, and so did God.
Great. P2C+, here I come. Fantastic.
Despite my negativity, I had a great time. I still sneered at the overzealous group of Christians, but they enticed me enough to want to return the following year. And that’s when God decided to blow my deeply cynical brain.
How I Got My Mind Blown
Every year they would have a ‘Day of Outreach’ which gave us an opportunity to practically apply The Great Commission to our lives (If you don’t know what that is, Matthew 28:16-20. Google it. Or look it up in a Bible). Some groups would go to apartment buildings and hand out copies of The Jesus Film in surrounding high density communities. Others would go talk to random people on the street and strike up a spiritual conversation. This year, they wanted to try a new method. A group of us were asked to bring our laptops to one of the conference rooms and try to strike up spiritual conversations with our friends. I was put in this group.
I was stoked! Not that I was being encouraged to share my faith, but that I didn’t have to talk to random people on the street. This would be easy, I thought to myself. I’ll just chill on Facebook for a while and do what I do best: squander precious time. But before I knew it, without even trying, I had begun an intensely deep conversation with my sister about faith. My heart was pounding; my family doesn’t talk about these things very much and from what I knew she was no longer a Christian. We ended up having a great chat that would open the door to more convos later.
As our time was winding down, my Facebook Message notification went off. It was my friend Peter from grade school. I’d sent him a link to a video describing God’s love but didn’t really expect him to respond.
He told me that he felt led to watch the video, and burst into tears half-way through. He told me that he had felt God pursuing him for sometime now, and that when I sent him this video, he couldn’t hold his emotions back anymore.
God Used Me: An Unwilling Participant
My interaction with him was probably only one very small brushstroke in the grand mural that God was painting for his life, but it was an important one. Now, as you can probably tell, I have no reason to boast about this. I was an unwilling and oblivious participant in God’s plan to reach Peter. But God chose to work through me, despite my horrible attitude and selfishness. I walked around for the rest of that conference completely stunned by God’s faithfulness and relentless pursuit of His children. I was even more convicted of my own sin, and how I was being such an obstacle. Imagine what God could do through me if I were a willing participant in His Master Plan.
My cynical attitude was crucified that night. I saw that God had a very real plan to work through P2C+. Not just to reach others, but to change my heart as well.