Talking to Ourselves

by Dec 15, 2006

vintage_microphone-sm.jpgWhen I was in college, I got a job as a DJ at the campus radio station. Being the new guy, I was assigned to the 12am-4am time slot. But that didn’t matter. I was famous. I was powerful. I was on a mission to bring good music to the good people of Los Angeles.

After a few months on the job, the station manager gave me a contest to do. I needed to give away two free tickets to see Toad the Wet Sprocket (they were huge at the time). So I said on the air in my best DJ voice, “You and a friend can see Toad live if you’re the 11th caller!”

I held my breath, and… the phone didn’t ring. I tried again, “OK, if you’re the 4th caller!” …nothing. “OK, the 1st caller takes these tickets!” …dead silence.

That’s when I realized that for two months, I’d been talking to nobody but myself. I was reminded of this painful revelation when I saw this new survey from the Barna Group:

In today’s celebrity culture, even the most well-known ministers remain relatively obscure. Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is Rick Warren. Pastor of a megachurch in southern California and author of the bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, he has appeared on countless radio and television programs and on the cover of numerous magazines in the past several years. His book, with sales exceeding 25 million copies, is reportedly the biggest selling non-fiction book in U.S. history (with the exception, ironically, of the Bible). Yet, despite such accomplishments, Mr. Warren remains unknown to most adults in this country. Three of out every four adults (72%) say they have never heard of him, including two out of every three born again Christians (63%).

He’s the bestselling nonfiction author of all time (they even put him on the side of Starbucks cups!), but three quarters of the country hasn’t heard of him. Obviously he’s not talking to dead air like I was, but this is a powerful reminder that we can’t just kick back and rely on authors, TV/radio preachers, or our pastors to bring the gospel to our increasingly secular culture. It’s a joyful task that Jesus gave each one of us to carry out in our everyday relationships, with his power, presence, and authority:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore as you are going [literal translation], make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28