Where I work I get to see a lot of people in the run of a day. They come into the show room or I see them at a job site and there they are, gruff, tough and sometimes angry construction workers. Angry or not, I think I've heard more "F" bombs in the past week and a half than I have in the last ten years.
One of the young men who favors the "F" bomb comes in quite often in need of more materials for his business constantly. As I walked away from the store with my brother for lunch one day, he drove by greeting us smoking a marijuana cigarette saying he'd see us later. To say the least, this man is what we'd call a "lost soul". I wonder how churches would respond to this man.
As I see this man on a regular basis, I get to know him. I find out things about him that explain, a little bit, how he got to be the way he is. Things like his parents both grew pot, or the fact that his grandmother gave him his first joint...at age 8! I have conversations with him about stuff that may matter a little bit instead of small talk. I do all of this and don't even mention God or Jesus or anything. I just, well, care a little bit about him as a person. Do I want him to know the freedom, peace and grace that comes from knowing God through Christ? Of course. But that's not my point.
My point here is that the Church needs boots on the ground. What I mean by that is that we need to get people out of the church buildings and into the work place, the play place, the marketplace and be salt and light there. Not only that, the hurting world needs discipled people who are educated in the teachings of Jesus to be out there. Furthermore, it can't be done under the guise of a program. Ask any pastor or religious program director about their latest "thing" and you'll get quotes on how many people were there, how "rockin" it was and how much money was made. Are these evil things? No of course not. Neither is show business. They just have nothing to do with discipleship.
Touching a hurting world can't just be scheduled. That's why we all need to be prepared to be the Jesus to the people we meet when and where they are at, not at some program for the public. So get out there. Be a real disciple and practice the teachings of Jesus. As Brian McLaren says, "be more concerned with conversations than with conversions" and I think we'll all be a better kind of salt and light.