Wednesday, September 02, 2015


Now that my little experiment is complete, I know several of you have been curious to hear how these two  meet up groups I started turned out.

First of all, it was a wonderful experience for me, personally. Not that this was the goal, but God did some interesting things in my own heart and mind as these meetings went on. Mainly, the Lord used these meetings to help me feel comfortable talking to non-Christians about Jesus. It also awakened me to the reality that there are people all around us who are desperate to find connect with Jesus, without all the usual baggage.

As for the meetings themselves, they were each worthwhile in their own way.

The Non-Christian group was basically a class. We followed a schedule and worked our way through a series of topics about Jesus from various angles. I had one main attendee who came to every class, paid close attention, showed genuine interest, and didn’t appear particularly moved by what we talked about. I could be wrong, of course. We never know what God does with our witness. I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will continue to stir his heart to continually seek after Jesus. [We did have one other regular attendee in this class, but he was already a follower of Jesus. There was another young man who showed for our first and our last session but he missed all other sessions].

The Christian group was, and still is, basically a coffee house discussion between my wife and I and one other person. He’s a great young man who is mainly looking to be encouraged more in his spiritual life, and we’ve been very blessed to help answer questions, provide insight, and pray with him about various things.

Now that the Non-Christian meet up is complete, I’d like to run it again. We’ll see if anyone signs up – or shows up – for that or not.

I’ve also been praying about starting one just for Muslims who want to talk about Jesus without religion or politics, but that might require a bit more preparation.

Practically, the website was helpful to find potential candidates for these groups, but frankly it was also very frustrating. For example, both of my groups have about 40 people who have joined, but out of those 40 people I’ve only managed to actually get one person per group to show up. That’s a little disappointing, and I’m not sure how to fix that. But, for now, I don’t know any other way to get connected with people in our area who might be interested in coming to meet and talk about Jesus with us. [If you know of any other online resources, please let me know!]

Maybe I need to host these in a bar or a pub? Would that attract a larger audience? I’m not a drinker myself, but there might be a better turn out if I called this “Beer and Jesus” and planned to meet at the local pub instead of a coffee house. I’m not sure.

Would you be interested in hosting your own “Jesus Without Religion (Or Politics)” meetings? I’ve had several people show interest in hosting their own meetings, and they’ve asked me about my notes and my lesson materials. Those are available if you’re interested. Just PM me and I’ll send you what I have.

Eventually I’ll set up a page here on my blog where all of the “Jesus Without Religion (Or Politics)” materials can live in one convenient location for easy access. I might even record a series of podcasts with all the lessons in order in case there’s an interest in learning what I taught during the sessions. Until then, hit me up and I’ll send it to you.

It was a great experience. We got to meet a handful of wonderful people who are at various points on the curve with Jesus. We learned a lot about the spiritual climate in our community. We also got to see how blessed we are to have a community of believers who know us, and love us, and encourage us on a regular basis. So many people, it seems, are in desperate need for connection with others who are on the same page.

Part of my calling is to connect people with others who can help each other and encourage one another. I just wish I knew how to reach out with my arms and gather all the various people in Orange County who are all feeling disconnected and empty and lonely out there.

I would LOVE to start a little organic community made up of people who just want Jesus without all the other nonsense. In fact, I’m praying that the Lord would show me how to do exactly that.



Unknown said...

The location doesn't seem to matter. With meetup you are doing good if half of the people who RSVP show up. I attend one meetup that is in a beer emporium and it is often just me and the guy (athiest turned christian) that started the group. One other guy (Catholic turned athiest) is semi regular. The group is "Got Doubt? Religon over beer discussion." We meet in Garland, TX.

Doug Webster said...

Hi Keith. I've been going to several meetups in my area recently. It is the norm for there to be many more people in a group than who actually show up to a meeting. They may be interested but can't or choose not to make it for some reason, who knows? It is also common for people to RSVP that they are coming but then not show up (or sometimes people cancel at the last minute). It is also difficult to control who is interested and decides to come to the group as you have experienced. FYI, there are a couple of similar groups to what you were thinking out there. There are some independent "Beer and Bible" groups, and I've also heard of "Pub Theology" groups too. I'm not sure how else you could connect with other people other than just meeting them personally in one place or another. Perhaps join another meetup group? I think with meetup, people are looking to see something they identify with themselves in the name of the group. So perhaps you could call the group "Nonchristians Curious About Jesus". Or perhaps you could do something like a survey of major religious leaders, Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, Gandhi, Buddha, etc. This would obviously take some more work, but you might have more success at getting non-Christians interested. Just put a note in the description saying that you are a Christian so that people can expect that.

P.S. I just ran across a review you wrote, I think on the Phantom Tollbooth, about 15 years ago on Unveiled.