FIRST PERSON: The value of a good name – Kentucky Today


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By TODD GRAY, Kentucky Baptist Convention

On a recent hot July day, a pastor and I went into his community to knock on doors and share the gospel. We visited several homes, had engaging conversations, and shared the good news of Jesus with residents of nearly half the homes we visited.

One of the highlights of the day happened at a home whose culture and language were different than our own. They did not know us and were unsure of the nature of our business. However, when we said, “Do you know Mrs. ____,” everything changed. The lady in question is well known in this ethnic community and happens to be the wife of the pastor with whom I was visiting. Her good name opened several doors for gospel conversations that day.

How can you establish a good name in a community that will open doors for gospel conversations?

1. Treat all people with dignity and respect: One of our former KBC team members was known for saying that in ministry there are no big “I’s” and little “you’s.” He was saying that all people matter to God and therefore all people matter. While we may not have the same values, beliefs, and lifestyles as those who are not yet followers of our Lord, we can treat every person with the dignity and respect they deserve as those made in the image of God.

2. Add value to all the people that you can: The 18th-century founder of Methodism, John Wesley, was known for having a “Rule of Life” that prompted him to serve people. Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” People who add value to others will be heard by those they help.

3. Live a life of Christian character all the time:  I once heard someone say that character shows up in the way we treat those who cannot do anything for us or to us. The way we treat other people may determine whether we have an open door to share Jesus with them.

4. Apologize quickly when you have treated someone wrongly: More than once I have had to call a customer service worker and apologize for not keeping my frustration in check. All of us have frustration, but it is never right to vent that built-up anger on those not personally responsible for our problem. Even when they are responsible, venting seldom helps anyone.

5. Be a leader in your unique assignment: Leadership author and trainer Phil Van Hooser defines leadership as, “The ability to offer service and the willingness to take action.” Each of us can be a leader in our station in life. See a need for service and do something about that need. Serving others will likely open doors to share Jesus with others.

The Lord will place you in a variety of environments, roles, and spheres of influence in your life. In all of them, your name and reputation will matter. May the Lord use your good name to give you the opportunity to share the name that changes everything—Jesus.

Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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