Are Christians known for being Christ-like?
Every day thousands of commuters flood our nation’s capital.
Some drive hours from across Virginia, Maryland and beyond.
In an effort to cut their lengthy commutes by precious minutes, many people participate in “slugging,” a form of carpooling in which drivers pick up passengers who are headed to their same location in order to gain access to the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane(s), which usually means a quicker trip.
While attending this year’s Baptist Communicators Association workshop in Alexandria, Va., right outside of Washington D.C., I took part in a breakout session led by D.J. Jordan, communications director for U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.
In his presentation titled, “Communication that Breaks Through Culture,” Jordan shared his thoughts on how Christian communications professionals can break through today’s difficult cultural landscape by “effectively communicating the transformational love of God.”
Jordan said that he is a regular slug driver and described a memorable exchange he had with one of his passengers.
There is a whole unspoken code of etiquette observed by regular sluggers, said Jordan. Passengers are never to adjust the radio, air conditioning, sun visor or generally touch anything within their host’s vehicle – without first asking for permission.
However, sometimes a passenger wants to chat. Jordan said he uses these opportunities to talk with his passengers about Jesus.
One day Jordan said he had a chatty passenger who shared with him about his church. When Jordan asked what church he attended, he found out that the man attended the Mormon church located close to where he lives.
The man said he worked at the U.S. Department of Energy and told Jordan, to his surprise, that the department actively seeks out Mormons when hiring for their positions.
The man said Mormons have a good reputation, throughout the federal government, for having a good work ethic and having few ethics violations or HR issues.
Jordan said that after speaking with the man he wondered what kind of reputation Christians have within the government and society in general.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if Christians had that reputation?” asked Jordan. “Today, I don’t know if we have that reputation in a lot of our communities. We definitely don’t have it here in D.C.”
I think Jordan’s interaction with the Mormon man is telling.
In an age when all kinds of messages and information fly around us constantly, it is easy to focus on things that are passing away and less on being Christ to those we come in contact with each day.
If Mormons are known as dependable, hard-working people in Washington D.C., it is because they, as a group, have forged an identity that values and lives out certain attributes.
How does the world see Southern Baptists or, for that matter, evangelical Christians in general?
What are we known for?
Caleb Yarbrough is associate editor of the Arkansas Baptist News. Contact him at email@example.com.