Big Yes, Little Yes, Healthy maybe
I’d finished one of my Comedy and Christianity events and I was approached by an older gentleman who had been invited by his family!
The aim of one such event is to seek to change the perception of the Christian faith. Off the back of these events people are often invited to come along to hear me speak on a Sunday morning some six weeks later or attend an Alpha or my Reason to Believe course.
Back to the gentlemen. I could see him heading towards me as I stood at the door. He told me he would come and see the event advertised on the postcard on the table. He was intrigued as to how I would preach as opposed to doing a comedy routine. True to his word, he came along and actually on that morning came to faith in Christ. I met him a further six months on and he came to see me with the biggest smile ever, announcing “I’m still going strong you know, been to church every Sunday and now done Alpha”. This is one of many reasons why I value, celebrate and encourage what I call the “healthy maybe” in a person’s journey to faith.
This story is not uncommon. In fact I would say it’s the norm. If you ever listen to someone telling you their story of how they came to faith in Christ – most people’s journey involved them at some point travelling through the ‘healthy maybe’ on their way to a ‘little yes’ and a ‘big yes’. I’ve met so many people when they’ve been in the “healthy maybe” stage. It excites me because at this stage they are on the way.
If we’re not careful we can put such a big focus on a person committing their life to Christ – we end up not celebrating all the little decisions along the way.
I remember speaking to a lady who was disappointed and defeated because her husband didn’t commit to following Jesus at a particular event I was speaking at. She had been praying for him for thirty years! Yet that night was the first night he had come along to church with her and he had asked her if he could come. That’s a ‘healthy maybe’! It might not have been the ‘big yes’ but it needed to be celebrated.
One of the biggest challenges I believe the church faces is changing the perceptions people have of the Christian faith and church. This means anything that helps address this, however small, is something we should celebrate. Whenever I preach the gospel, share my faith one-to-one, produce resources or help churches with their evangelism – I try to build in a healthy maybe option. I’ve had people come to see me at the end of my evangelistic events introducing themselves as “a healthy maybe”, this makes me happy as they are on the way!
So what is the healthy maybe? Many people would see themselves as open- minded. Healthy maybe asking people to make a commitment to remain so. What’s a ‘little yes’? A little yes is making an intentional decision to find out more about the Christian faith. This can be made as a commitment to God or simply as a commitment to themselves to find out more about the Christian faith. A ‘Big Yes’ is giving people the opportunity to become a Christian. This often seen as big step in the conversion journey but for many it’s the final ‘little yes’! For some a healthy maybe could be the big step!
It’s my firm conviction that we need have a long term view of the journey
of commitment and celebrate and promote whatever steps people take in their discipleship journey – which starts incidentally before they come to Christ. Have a prayerful think about the people you have had the opportunity to share your faith. Are any of them a ‘healthy maybe’ or ‘little yes’ or ‘Big yes’?
(National Evangelist for Elim Churches and head of evangelism)