Sermon Illustration: What’s Your Approach?

Recently I preached a message on approach to spiritual influence. We looked at Paul’s approach to influencing the Ephesians to become more Christ-like. I began the sermon with the following illustration (ahem. . . joke). Enjoy. . .

When you want to influence someone spiritually, what is your approach?

Recently I heard about a preacher who held a baptism service for anyone wanting to find Jesus. He and a group from town gathered at the creek behind the church building and baptized anyone looking for Jesus. To everyone’s amazement, the town drunk made his way down to the creek where the baptisms were happening. The whole town had been praying for this man. He was mean. He was rebellious. He stayed drunk. He beat his wife. His mouth made a sailor’s sound like the Pope. Everyone was amazed when they saw him come to be baptized.

The preacher asked him why he came. He said he was tired of the life he was living and believed Jesus could help him. The preacher baptized him in the creek, brought him out of the water, and said, “Sir, did you find Jesus?” The man replied that he did not and maybe they needed to try again. For the second time, the preacher asked the man, “Did you find Jesus that time?” The man replied, “No, I didn’t find Jesus.” The preacher began to get a little miffed and determined to help the man find Jesus. So, for a third time, the preacher held the man down under the water for several seconds before bringing him up. The preacher said, “Sir, that time – did it work? Were you able to find Jesus?” The man said, “No, preacher. I didn’t. Are you sure you left Him in the water right here?”

Perhaps that preacher’s approach wasn’t the best. What’s your approach when trying to influence someone spiritually?

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