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A Heart to Reach


By: Kacie Starr Long


I gripped the phone in my right hand and took a deep breath.


What just happened, I wondered.


After a few more deep breaths, I took inventory of my emotions.


Fear - check.


Confusion - check.


Incredulity - check.


I called my husband who was in the next room over, and who I knew overheard my phone conversation, and told him I needed to talk. I needed to share the details of an unsettling conversation, and an attempt at evangelism that suddenly went left.


Several years ago, my husband and I were part of a church planting network that focused heavily on evangelism. This church planting organization actively recruited men and women who had miraculous transforming encounters with God, to plant churches in urban communities that experienced poverty, addiction, and hopelessness. The concept behind this church planting organization was to reach "the one that is far from God" by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. This often looked like, planting churches in urban corridors, passionately knocking on doors to minister and pray with people, hosting outdoor concerts or community events to attract people to share the rich message about Jesus Christ dying for one's sins and becoming one's personal Lord and Savior.


My husband Al, and I were all in. The idea of reaching as many people for Jesus Christ is something we believe so deeply, and we enjoyed our time as church planters and connecting with other church planting couples from around the country who also shared the same passion and heart for reaching those who were far from God. Us church planting couples had developed a kinship, a camaraderie and a community. Not many people understood the hardships of planting a church in the inner city, or building a church with those who were facing poverty, addictions or other difficult life issues, but our friends in the church planting community did.


For various reasons, the church planting organization folded and many of the churches that operated closed including the church that Al and I led in downtown St. Louis. Despite the church planting organization closed, many of us continued to share the gospel by serving in their local church, or in some other capacity. This is why I was surprised, when I came across the social media pages of a former wife of a former church planter.


I knew from social media that she was no longer married to her husband, and by her social media it also appeared that she was no longer practicing Christianity. How could I tell? Her page showed pictures and reels of her in "healing circles" and her photo captions spoke of the Universe, and healing by the moon, stars and burning incense and candles as a way to ward off evil spirits.


So I prayed.


I also pondered how hurt, and pain can lead someone away from Jesus. Even someone who had devoted a significant part of their life to leading others to Christ, yet they too could fall away. And if she could fall away from Jesus, so could I.


I pondered these things and I prayed to God about what should I do.


Should I reach out to her and see how she is doing?


Or should I just ignore the posts, and ignore what I had seen? Especially since I hadn't communicated with her in years.


I thought about everything I learned during my time as a church planter, and I thought about the mission of our church planting organization. That even though it was no longer in existence, the spirit behind the organization was. The idea of reaching those who are far from God. To reach them and extend a hand and help draw them back to Jesus. I thought about how, if I had fallen away, I would want someone to lovingly speak to me, and minister to my heart and point out the truth and lead me back to Jesus Christ.


So I called her.


Actually, I reached out through social media first and asked if it would be okay.


She responded immediately that she would be happy to speak to me and so we chatted small talk for a few minutes. I then told her that I was concerned after seeing images on her social media, and that I wanted to know where she was at in her relationship with Jesus Christ.


She was happy to talked about other things but did not want to talk about Jesus Christ. In fact, the tone of her voice changed and she raised her voice to sternly say that she did not want to talk about Jesus. (I understood this, because many people who are follow New Age believe in God, but deny that Jesus Christ is the Savior - they may believe that He is a prophet, or special teacher but refuse to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior).


I can't remember what I said, or how I asked but the conversation came back to Jesus Christ and her faith, and she got very angry and raised her voice again. She did not want to talk about Jesus Christ and she was not open to talking about Christianity.


Needless to say, my attempt to reach her did not go well or as I had planned. I had not expected her to be so resistant to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I do believe what the Bible says that "the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers." Pain and trauma had occurred in her life and the spirit that had deceived her to pursue other paths was resistant and would not allow her to hear or receive the Truth.


I wish I could report that I had the right words, boldness and authority to speak to her heart. Instead, I meekly said, "I don't want to upset you. I'm going to hang up now and just know that I will be praying for you. God bless you."


I write about my experience because sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is not always pretty, "successful" or beautiful.


After recounting the experience with my husband, and spending time in prayer, I believe I did the right thing, by reaching out to her and sharing the truth about Jesus Christ. That He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.


I'm encouraged by the scripture that tells us that "some plant, some water, and God gives the increase." It could be that God has used me to plant or water and I believe that God will continually send people across her path to lead her back to Jesus Christ.


Before this experience, I used to think "I would never fall away and worship another god." How foolish and prideful. I have learned that one has no idea the amount of pain, trauma and life difficulty that can occur that may cause you to look to other god's (or people, places, or things) outside of Jesus Christ.


Witnessing to my former comrade in ministry has brought humility, compassion, grace and a softness in my heart. Because had it not been for the grace of God, it could be me. And in the event (and I pray that this never, ever happens) I want someone to come and get me. I want someone to lovingly confront me and point me back to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.


So, would I do it again?


Absolutely.


I'll go through the pain, rejection, and being yelled at to do what it takes to reach those who are far from God and/or have fallen away from God.


God, continue to give me strength to always reach the one.



PS: If you haven't heard, my latest book "Inspired: 40 ish Devotions for the Woman who Enjoys Laughter, Strength and Encouragement is now available for purchase You can learn more by clicking here.






Hi, my name is Kacie Starr Long. I am an author, and speaker and I love to use my voice to point people to Jesus. When I'm not writing, I'm either working out at Orange Theory Fitness or sewing. I'm in recovery from compulsive overeating and I have a sewing ministry, called the Sew Hope Community Sewing Room. I am the proud wife of Alfred T. Long, Sr and together we lead a non-profit that serves prisoners and their families. Connect with me at www.InspiredOverflow.com and via my YouTube page for Christian teachings and encouragement.





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