If Jesus were on earth you'd find him in a gay bar in San Francisco. He'd be with people suffering from AIDS. These are the new lepers. If you want to find out where Jesus would be hanging out, it'll always be with lepers. ~ Bono (U2)
For the first time since the 1980's Sandy and I are spending more time with non-church people than with church-goers. Vocational ministry began for us nearly three decades ago; it doesn't seem possible. In those early years we were in constant contact with non-religious people. Shortly after we were married we were fully engaged helping two new church starts. In 1983 we were commissioned to Northern Maine where we started a church from our living room. In spite of our short comings there was no lack of commitment to sharing the gospel. I am not exaggerating -- hundreds got saved during that first decade.
Over the next two decades contact with the un-churched became incidental at best; so did the number of people we witnessed placing their eternal destiny in the care of Jesus. For nearly twenty-years we have been faithful to preach God's Word, and committed to delivering the gospel as Christs' primary message. Yet we have spent the majority of these last twenty years speaking to religious people.
Life is much different now, we are still in vocational ministry, our church lets us focus outward -- for which we are immensely grateful. We are free to spend nearly all of our time with people who have little or no connection to church. The transition has required a succession of adjustments. Within the church our role is behind the scenes. Securities and even status that were once a given have less importance. We have been released from a spiritual identity that was so wrapped up in being front-and-center. Dependence upon God is going to places it has rarely experienced.
God's has taken us full circle.