Herdin’ Dirty

by Kevin on January 13, 2011

When you are gathering really wild cattle, sometimes the easiest thing to do is let them catch themselves. With a little time, they will pen themselves and not think anything about it.

The cow had seen this before. She pushed through the gate as she had done several times in the past. The only difference was that this time, she wouldn’t be leavin’ the pen like all the times before.

This is an old cowboy trick used to pen wild cattle. It involves setting up two swinging gates. A cow can easily move one gate inward and having the gate return back to the normal position if it’s pushed. Then upon leaving, she pushes the other gate in the same manner. Imagine if you will, the doors at a restaurant. One side is used for going in the kitchen and another door is used for leaving.

The in gate is opened up into a water lot just wide enough for a cow to walk through unhindered. Let them get used to it for a few days and then make the opening a little narrower. The rank old cow should have to bump the gate to get through the opening and be able to get out in the same manner.

With time, the cow will actually walk up and push the gate open to get water and leave the same way through the other gate. The only difference is that when you are ready, you lock the out gate.

The in gate should not be able to swing back out, but only open by pushing in towards the water lot.

I’ve helped pen 30 wild cows and calves without ever breaking a sweat. They can go in the pen, but they can’t get out. For the fishermen out there, this is a big version of a minnow trap.

Gathering the Wild and Lost for Christ

If you think that you can herd and rope cowboys and force them to Christ you are wrong. Here are some things that will help those of you who are tryin’ to pen some mavericks for Christ.

  1. Just Visit with Them
    Nothing is more powerful than a cup of coffee and a conversation. You don’t have to force feed the gospel to them in two minutes. Don’t jerk out your Jesus stick and start whackin’ them in the face with it. They are just gonna hit the brush faster than a politician blames his predecessor.
  2. Invite Them Over for Supper
    There is something magical about opening your home to someone else and sharing a meal. Once again, don’t pressure them into coming to church or attending a Bible study on the theological purpose of the columns on the temple.
  3. Call Them a Couple of Times a Week
    By now, you should realize that this is about developing a relationship. You can’t do that without takin’ an active interest in them. There is nothing easier than dropping a call to them and askin’ about their day or tellin’ them about the little calf that whipped you like a mangy monkey on methamphetamines.
  4. Tell Them About Christ in Your Life
    Sharing how Jesus has made such an impact on your life will get them interested in having peace, happiness, and joy.
  5. Invite Them to Church
    Now the gate has closed in on them and they aren’t scared or lookin’ to run for the hills. Stop by and pick them up so they don’t have to walk in by themselves. Don’t make a big deal about anything. It shouldn’t be any different than when you had them over for sup’.

Just walkin’ up to a stranger or even someone you know and askin’ them to come to church by themselves probably won’t yield much of a result. Just attending a church service won’t reveal the love of Christ, but building a loving relationship with others and letting Christ’s love shine through you will change someone’s life.

Some might say this is herdin’ dirty…I say it’s leading them to Christ.

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  • I don’t know about herdin’ dirty, but anyone can offer a bit of hospitality. This will take longer and probably have a less dramatic conversion rate than preaching from a soap box (and you better have a Billy Graham anointing before doing THAT!) but that person will actually have a relationship with someone else before they have the chance to get lost in the church program!

    Hopsitality Evangelism. You should write a book 🙂

    • Kevin

      How bout you write the book and give me all the credit and most of the royalties?

      I believe that Christianity is ALL about relationship. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with everythin’ ya got and love others as much as yerself.”

      Relationship with God….Relationship with others.

      You can’t make a disciple until you make a relationship.

      Sorry, was that all soapbox?

  • “Don’t jerk out your Jesus stick and start whackin’ them in the face with it”. This really made me laugh Kevin. What happened to Jimmy after he scared the cattle? Did you show him mercy? 🙂 You are so right. Meet people. Enjoy getting to know them and Jesus will eventually come up. Just lovin them where they are leads them to the gate.

    • Kevin

      Thanks Colleen for sayin’ in 30 words something that took me 700! As far as Jimmy goes, it was so funny that we just laughed at him and got him cleaned up. We came back with a bunch of cowboys and got them back in the pen. He was showed mercy by us, but them cows was ruthless on him.

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