FullSizeRenderA middle-aged man, Marc, perhaps a very unlikely one to meet Jesus, recently had an unusual encounter inside a church – one that would change his life.

It was Easter Sunday when he first sheepishly entered the doors of our church, by personal invitation of my friend and co-worker, Charles Kiefer. Meeting him after service, it appeared to me he was coming out of a weathered life.

He returned in subsequent weeks off and on, and eventually, politely, requested an appointment with me. Since he was the founder and chief editor of a prominent national magazine, I assumed this could be a very interesting introductory meeting.

When Marc walked into my office he started out with these riveting words:

The secular world has broken my heart. All I’ve known about God is through mass media, pop culture, the Rolling Stones and The New York Times. Sadly, I’m not alone.

There’s a huge group of “my” neglected people out there, and I intend to do something about it. We are educated, smart, artistic do-gooders, and we really wanna be ethical unbelievers. Unfortunately, no one is reaching us.

Rhetorically he asked, “Doesn’t God care about this group?”

He continued describing his lifelong image of Christians as, “Hypocrites, idiots, Islam-a-phobics, misogynists, racists, bloodthirsty,” and so on.

I was riveted by the description of his first visit to our church in Durham, NC:

With my first look at King’s Park I thought, ‘Here’s one more mega church full of greed and stupidity.’ But after going inside for the service, something happened I could have never predicted. All my previous thoughts and experiences were upended, along with all my preconceived misconceptions.

Marc then dug from his past as a reporter, editor, and writer, saying…

I’ve reported on sports events, concerts and all kind of gatherings, but by far King’s Park is the most diverse and racially inclusive place I have ever seen. In my first visits, seeing so many races and nations, I figured the race discussion would be the main event. I waited week after week but the topic of race rarely came up.

It’s true that King’s Park is wonderfully diverse. It’s also true it’s not a regular discussion topic because our diversity is not the focus, but the by-product of the focus: Jesus Christ, Lord of all.

Marc continued…

I thought I’d have to dumb down, but found the leaders to be articulate and sharp. I thought it’d be humorless and dry, but the opposite was true. I thought it’d be about hating everyone, but it had nothing to do with hate. Although the media ingrained in me that Christians were the most homophobic, transgenderphobic, hateful people out there, I’ve found nothing of the sort.

I prejudged even you, expecting a flamboyant, sugar-coated sheister, but instead as I’ve heard you speak, I have felt God, been challenged by the logic and even heard the Holy Ghost speak to me.

(Hearing a new believer with a secular humanistic background reference the Holy Ghost made me chuckle; love how He works!)

Marc went on to share his new vision for using media and writing to refocus the discussion for “his” people group. His desire is to show the world that Christians and Christianity are not what they are so often portrayed.

He also wants to go after the false story-line and show the hypocrisy of the name callers and false-image projectors. He is a man on a mission – a new mission that brings transformation to someone, then through someone.

Isn’t this just what Christ does … saves us, equips us, and sends us.

Marc has indeed had a God encounter, along with the rest of us by the dozens, hundreds, thousands and millions. He’s been drawn to God, will soon be baptized, and is on the road to being a humble follower of the true God and Savior, our Champion, Jesus Christ.

We never know those whom God is drawing into our midst. Some people are already among us and watching what is going on in our place of worship. Be true to your mission and watch God and, or as Marc says, the Holy Ghost, do His work!