by Alin Patularu
WINDSOR, ON – The last 2 and a half years have been hard on most people. The pandemic and ensuing restrictions have had a ripple effect throughout our culture, and it’s been mostly, if not entirely, negative. This year has been exceptionally hard for my family and ministry. We’ve experienced decline in attendance, burn out of leaders, and countless, compounding residual challenges resulting from the response to the covid pandemic.
As I reflected on what happened and what God was trying to teach me through all this, the one theme that kept emerging was, gospel generosity. What people need now more than ever before, is a clear display of gospel generosity, and what better time than Christmas to display that?
As a church we don’t have a ton of disposable income, if any, but I knew that didn’t matter. If Church planting teaches you anything, it’s that God’s math is not like our math. After all, our King fed 5000 hungry people with a little kid’s lunch. The next challenge was, how to use what little money we had, to express gospel generosity to our neighbors?
I was talking this over with our pastoral apprentice and he had an idea, “Why don’t we offer to buy coffee for people if they can pass the good person test, like you used to do at local festivals?” That was it, what a perfect idea. The next day I got to work on a sign that would hopefully attract people to come and talk to us. I made a sign saying, “Christmas Quiz. Pass & Earn $5.”
I came up with some generic, Christmas ice breaker questions. I finally end with the “Charlie Brown” question, “What is Christmas all about?” After they answer I say something to the effect of, “What if I told you that Christmas is only necessary because of human evil?” This is a shock to their system and causes them to ask, “What do you mean?” With that I transition to the final challenge, the good person test popularized by Ray Comfort. I tell them that if they can pass the good person test, they will win the $5. I then walk them through the 10 commandments and demonstrate that they have broken God’s law. Unfortunately, they failed the test and don’t deserve the $5.
Most people at this point are disappointed and I ask, “Do you know what God did for guilty sinners?” This is when I explain that Christ was born that first Christmas morning because of the evil of humans. He died and rose from the dead to redeem and restore us back to good standing with God. At this point I hold out the $5 bill and say, “You don’t deserve this. You did not earn it; you failed the test. But I am offering it to you as a free gift, if you will only reach out and take it.” When they reach out and take it, that's when you clarify the gospel by saying, “In a much more significant way, Jesus paid your debt for all your sin. You can’t earn it and you don’t deserve it. All you must do to receive this gift of eternal life is reach out to Him in faith and receive it.”
The look on people’s faces is priceless. One night we were able to share this gospel message with 9 people in 1 hour. It cost us a total of $20 because only 4 people took the quiz while their family and friends eagerly stood around listening in on what was happening. In this way we are able to stretch our dollars further and get straight to the point of the Gospel while displaying generosity as well. Give it a try, share the Good News and make some new friends this Christmas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alin Patularu is from Windsor Ontario Canada and planted Life-Giver Church in 2016 with the Send Network. He’s been married for 8 years to Shelly and is the father of twin boys, Jack and Henry.