[This is a series designed to bring you into the the unique A.P.E stories of each writer on this blog. We hope each one of you can find a little of your A.P.E story inside of one of us. Read the other stories]
Growing up, my sisters and I were the only kids in our school openly from a churched background. My family went to a small church of about thirty people, and there was only one other bible-believing church in our whole town. It’s the kind of background which programs into you the assumption that most people don’t know about Jesus and unless you talk to them they won’t get to know him.
Initially I had just a dull awareness of the need to speak about Jesus, but as my teenage years wore on I became increasingly frenetic in my attempts to talk with others about Jesus: I would bring him up in conversation with friends, I initiated a regular street outreach in my home town and I spent every summer involved in short-term mission projects.
The strange thing was that for all my activity and enthusiasm I didn’t see a single person open their life up to Christ.
Shortly before leaving for university, I read a book called The Cross and the Switchblade written by a man from rural Pennsylvania who nervously stepped into the heart of New York’s gangland and saw hardened criminals hand their lives over to Jesus. The book amazed me because it was told by somebody who actually seemed to know God.
It began to slowly dawn on me that for all my efforts to introduce others to Jesus, he was really little more than an idea or a doctrine for me.
I realized that the person most in need of God’s transforming power was me.