Panel Discussion: Utah as a Mission Field

Last Saturday, I had an opportunity to speak as part of a panel discussion at a missions conference at a local church. Hosted by Washington Heights Baptist Church in Ogden, Utah, the conference featured several tracks devoted to evangelism, short-term mission trips, and other topics helpful to people with a heart for God’s purpose in the world.

In my session, three of us spoke about unique religious and cultural issues here in Utah. We helped the audience develop a greater sensitivity to the people who live around them, and offered advice on how to engage in fruitful spiritual conversations. We discussed the pros and cons of various strategies for sharing the good news of God’s grace with the religiously minded people in our community.

All the panelists agreed that strident arguments about who is right and who is wrong are not productive. We all advocate sharing the truth about Jesus Christ from the Bible rather than tearing down beliefs that others hold dear – and then allowing the Holy Spirit to use Scripture to speak to people’s hearts. We all agreed that strategies and materials which attack others often simply have the effect of making people defensive and thus more closed off to the truth.

The audience asked many thoughtful questions, and we had a great dialogue. I’m thankful to Washington Heights for extending the invitation for me to participate on this panel.

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