CRAIG WAS AN ATHEIST who did not believe in anything supernatural, spiritual, or eternal. He was living from the premise of this is all there is to life, so live and let live. However, he had a longtime friend named Andrea who was a Christian searching for meaning and strength to live her faith daily. She and Craig were out shopping when she popped the big question: Will you go to church with me? His response was consistent with his atheism, No. I dont want to go to church and I dont want to talk about your religion. No! However, Andrea was praying for Craig and had asked many others to pray.
Weeks and weeks went by with similar responses from Craig. Andrea was challenged to remain faithful to witnessing to Craig. One day, the subject of church came up again and Craig relented. He said, Sure, I will go. She was shocked but excited. Not only did he attend that day but began attending regularly. While still very skeptical, Craig began asking questions about the sermons and worship experiences, even purchasing a Bible. Andrea was faithful to try and answer his inquiries and satisfy his curiosity.
One Saturday, Craig called to see if Andrea wanted to do some shopping. This would be a shopping experience neither of them would ever forget. After spending the day together, Andrea felt a bold impression to ask another great question: Craig would you like to be a Christian? Craig said, Yes, I would. In that moment, Andrea led her friend to Jesus while sitting in the car in the mall parking lot. When someone is ready to be transformed, God is ready to do the transformation, even in a mall parking lot!
Craig followed the Lord in Christian baptism just after the 2011 Focus Forty Celebration Service at Towne Boulevard Church. Today, he is a faithful member of Towne and serves in various ways through that ministry.
O God, help me establish real relationships in which I can be used as a faithful witness. Give me courage and boldness to share my faith with my friends. Keep me from discouragement as I tell my story. Give me wisdom as I answer honest questions my friends are asking about my faith. And finally, Lord, give me sensitivity to your Spirit that I might know when to speak for you, to express your extreme love for them.
-Mitchell Burch, Senior Pastor, Towne Boulevard Church of God, Middletown, Ohio