I have a friend called Phil. Phil is another maverick kind of person who believes that the church needs to change, but that's not all he is. Phil suffers from a condition that has seen his sight deteriorate over many years, but that hasn't really stopped him. Last year or earlier this year, I can't quite remember circumstances changed as Phil's sight disappeared completely.
He's blogged about how this has affected his life and the changes he's had to make. But here's the thing. He's become a sportsman! Encouraged by others, Phil is now taking part regularly in sport. Ask him yourself and you will find out that it's the last he expected to be doing. But just taking part in sport isn't the only reason that he's become captain of the NRSB cricket team.
He reflects on it all here, and it's worth reading if you need a bit of inspiration to take up a sport, or if you are wondering about how to increase your connections with folk who are far from God (one of my reasons for taking up tennis last year). Maybe he wouldn't use quite the same words that I use, but like me Phil is putting himself in close proximity to people Jesus misses, and he's enjoying it too! If Phil doesn't do it, who will? If I don't do it, who will? If you don't do it, who will?
Both he and I are doing something we love in a way that, by the grace of God, might just make a difference in someone's life. Neither of us would ever say that we set out to play sport in order to do evangelism. That would be the worst of reasons. I'm glad Phil is enjoying the friendship and enjoyment that comes through sport. So am I. And I'm considerably older than he is!
The point I'm making is simply this. Why do we always seem to want to reach people on our terms, inviting them onto our turf, to do things our way at a time that's convenient to us? Why don't we occasionally try inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of the kingdom?
Speaking of which, it's Thursday and I need to get down to the tennis club for a fun morning of doubles.
All power to your elbow Phil.