Paul Williams: A man who eats with sinners.

December 2, 2009 — Leave a comment

I just finished reading Paul Williams’ latest article Just a Couple of Steps in Front and it gives an example of the evangelistic approach I highlight in my book Eats With Sinners.

Here’s an excerpt:

For years I played wallyball every Wednesday morning. Wallyball is volleyball played on a racquetball court. I remember the day Bill joined our team.

Bill was an actor in New York. Full of intelligence and bravado, he played with abandon. Bill also lived with abandon.

After showering in the locker room, Bill walked over and sat down across from me. “Do you mind if I ask a personal question?” he said. Well, the locker room is not where I want to be asked personal questions, but I told him to go ahead. Bill said, “Are you a recovering alcoholic?” I told him I was not, but the way I had it figured, just about all of us are recovering from one kind of addiction or another. The conversation ended and I headed back to my office.

Bill was back the next week. “I am recovering,” he said, “I am having a hard time figuring out the God part of recovery.”

I said, “You’re right. It is hard figuring out the God part.” Again, the conversation ended and I returned to my office. As is readily apparent, I am not, in fact, a natural evangelist!

Before we headed onto the racquetball court the next week, Bill said, “You’re in front of me on the God thing.”

“How are you so sure?” I asked.

“Because you don’t cheat when we play. If you’re in the net, you say you’re in the net. If the ball hits the back wall, you admit it hit the back wall.”

“All right, let’s talk,” I answered.

After several conversations I put Bill in touch with one of our Orchard Group ministers near his home in Nassau County.

It wasn’t long before Bill was baptized into Christ. He began working with the youth program and later moved to Florida, where he is still very involved in the life of the church.

In my book I define evangelism as an intentional relationship through which someone is introduced to Jesus Christ.

Paul didn’t have to debate Bill to reach him for Christ.  He just had to care about him.


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