Well… First Some Explanation

So, back on March 25th, 2020, I launched a second YouTube channel to accompany some activism/citizen journalism I decided to do. The channel, Minnesota Black Robe Regiment, is a throwback to the pre-Revolutionary War days. During that time Christian leaders from pastors to elders and others were actively engaged in defying the tyranny of corrupt British officials. So, what is the channel for? Well, it’s all about reminding Americans, especially Christians, what the role of government is. It’s all about holding the elected servants accountable for their actions. Will it be effective? I have no idea.

As part of this side project I have been conducting interviews with different citizens. I  interviewed a lady who owns a salon. A man who teaches jujitsu. A lady who is suffering through not being allowed to see her elderly family members. I also interviewed a lady that owns 5 businesses and all of them have been shut down. Likewise, I interviewed another lady who owns a boutique that has been shut down for months.  I even interviewed a young lady that recently graduated from high school and college at the same time. On some level these interviews have been effective. There have been, and I am not prone to exaggeration, literally thousands of views.

But one interview provoked a brief conversation that was seemingly unrelated to the stated purpose of my new project.

Effective Communication Leads to Hard Questions

While interviewing a local business owner in the little city where I often preach open-air, I mentioned that things like freedom and liberty are quite important to me. I told him that not only am I a veteran but that I preach the Gospel in the open air in the town. This prompted a brief conversation about the mayor and city council of the town trying to figure out ways to curtail my preaching. Fortunately, they did not seem to settle on an effective way to do that.

In addition to that particular conversation he eventually asked me the last thing I expected him to ask.

“Do you think that doing it that way is effective?”

As I began to answer him our conversation was cut short. I watched as my chance to answer his inquiry slipped away. I was dejected because I thought that it would lead to a deeper Gospel centered explanation of why I do what I do. Whether-or-not others perceive it as effective. However, had I not been upfront about my preaching activities I would not have had the chance to even have the conversation.

But, let me ask all five of you reading this a simple question.

What do you think defines effective Gospel work? If you were pressed to answer that question how would you even define effective?

Just When I Thought My Chance Was Gone…

I eventually went through the interview and was able to make some small talk. I had decided that my chance to answer the “effective” question had slipped by. But I forgot, for the briefest moment, that the God I serve is always working. He was not done with the question and he provided an effective example for me to point to.

So, about two years ago while preaching from my accustomed boulder I was heckled by a young man. I was able to eventually engage with him and we had a great conversation. At one point we were even able to communicate via Messenger. I certainly would not call us friends by any stretch, but we have an amicable relationship. When I see him, I am able to say hi and exchange pleasantries.

Well, on this day God was working and as I spoke to the business owner in preparation to leave, along walked the young man. I greeted him and inquired as to his school plans as I knew he was set to graduate amid all of the COVID19 fiasco. The brief interaction went well, and I congratulated him on his graduation, and he moved on.

An Effective Transition

I stood dumbfounded for a brief second and then looked at my interviewee.

“You know when you asked me if I thought what I do is effective?”

He looked at me and kinda smiled a little, but I could tell he was losing interest.

“Well that young man I just spoke with. He heckled me about two years ago and we have developed a relationship of sorts.”

The interviewee looked at me somewhat dumbfounded. I was then able to explain that our conversations have grown friendly and pleasant and that was how I knew his plans for after graduation. It even allowed me to explained that I was able to hear the young man out about his mistreatment at the hands of fellow students that claimed to be Christian.

I then said very humbly, “So when you ask me if I think what I do is effective. I have to say yes. Even if no one else understands it.”

So, Is It Effective?

What we, each Christian, have to ask ourselves is what I said above. How do you define effective when it comes to the preaching of the Gospel?

Is effective only measured in terms of the number of conversions you see?

Perhaps effective means a set number of conversations that are started whenever you minister the Gospel. No matter what the particular methodology you employ.

I would simply point to this essay as my definition of effective when it comes to Gospel work. Not only have I been able to develop a relationship with the aforementioned young man. A relationship where the Gospel was front-loaded from the outset I might add. But more so effective in that my interviewee has noticed me in the past and asked the question he asked.

I may never have a chance to speak to him again. Even when I am in that little burg preaching. Heaven knows that he may find me a complete fool for doing what I do. But rest assured, he has noticed, and he has heard the preaching. He told me he has listened and watch me interact with others. Or “argue” as he put it. But he has heard. Heard enough to at least ask the question…

“Do you think what you do is effective?”

My reply? Yes, my friend I do. I know it is. If for no other reason than you are asking me about it…

Soli Deo Gloria!

-Todd