Launch Pad 26: Harness Your Passions

I will never forget the T-shirt evangelist! For years he wore T-shirts with Christian slogans on them, hoping that someone on the morning commute would ask him about the gospel. Sadly, no-one ever did, so rather despondently he gave up, grabbed an ordinary T-shirt and went to work. Slumped in the train carriage in a well-worn and much loved Harely-Davidson T-shirt, he was asked by a stranger, “So, do you ride a Harley?” After much motorbike chat, the conversation moved through from questions of the relative merits of various classic bikes to the year off from riding he had been forced to take from illness—into questions of life and faith. The T-shirt evangelist got further by harnessing his passions to connect with people.

Natural communities form around all kinds of interests, passions and hobbies, both in the real world and online, and often in both. Sometimes niche, unusual (or just plain weird) interests often have lively well-connected social scenes attached to them.

I am a fan of British 1970s rock and prog music, which probably qualifies under several of those aforementioned pejorative adjectives! Several years ago, I joined an online forum about one of these bands, which (although a secular band) have written some very thoughtful and indeed spiritual lyrics. Every Monday there is a “track of the week” to discuss, when everyone can chip in their thoughts and responses to the song. Sometimes it’s esoteric discussions about chord-progressions and time signatures; but I have also had the chance to post about love, faith, Jesus, hope and church. Reactions can be mixed to say the least. However, it has led to some really interesting private conversations on email with people who have wanted to know more. Meeting up at gigs has then deepened these relationships.

So what are your passions, interests or hobbies? How can you use these as a catalyst to build significant relationships with people who share your love of Shrewsbury Town FC, baking, reading, rock-climbing, stamp-collecting, the poetry of William McGonagall, ornithology, cinema, or whatever floats your unique boat? One friend of mine has found that the local cycle-touring community creates repeated opportunities for life-deep conversations as they pedal through the countryside together. It has become the frontline for his Christian witness.

Pray: Father, please enable me to use my interests to build meaningful relationships with others for you. Amen.

Previously: Launch Pad #25 Practice your testimony – and pray for an opportunity to share it

Next: Launch Pad #27 Will be published shortly