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Breaking the Cult Image in One Transient Community

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

A return to biblical hospitality can open wide the doors for gospel witness to occur.

Talking with my friend, Dwayne, is never a dull moment. He is one of the most creative, insightful, and vibrant evangelists I know.

One of the guys whom he witnessed to, baptized, and discipled is so filled with an overflowing desire to share Jesus with his high school that he stood on top of a table in the cafeteria during lunch time and started proclaiming the message of salvation aloud. That’s the kind of evangelism fire Dwayne ignites in others.

So when I called him to ask about getting over my fear to witness to my neighbors, I was ready for some fiery advice.

“Consider this,” he said. “Do you realize that being an evangelical pastor in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood, many of your neighbors already think that you are a cult leader…”

Wow. I was blown away. Ten years as a pastor in our community living in the same home. No. I had never thought that. Come to think of it… that might explain some of my neighbors reluctant conversations and nervous greetings throughout the years.

Me? A cult leader? I am far from that. Really, I am a nice guy.

What a hurdle to overcome!

“Well, don’t worry”, he said. “The good thing is that you have at your disposal the Church’s greatest tool for breaking this type of obstacle.”

“What is it?” I asked anxiously.

“Hospitality!” Good ol’ love for strangers.

Who knew! Turns out that city dwellers who are experts at building walls to separate and keep unwanted interruptions away cannot resist the power of being loved.

This past summer, driven by a passion to go beyond nice greetings with most neighbors, I walked into our home and made an announcement: “Next week we will have a kids club ...

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