I said something about the weather. The guy was standing next to his truck trying to make a cell phone call. I didn’t realize that he was the business owner I had been e-mailing for two or three weeks.

When I stuck my head in the open door of his not-yet-opened business, his employees pointed me toward the cell-phone guy. I went back to tell him who I was, and we talked some more. Today I got an e-mail from him and a promise that we’d get together soon. He said he wanted to talk to me some more about marketing.

Here’s the deal. He knows who I am and what I do, but that isn’t a problem. All my life I’ve heard Christians say that the world has a problem with us and that most doors are closed to us and our message. That may be true of a few, but the vast majority of people are ready to respect us if……

I think the “if” is 1) respect for people and 2) willingness to have a relationship with people aside from our desire to share a message with them.

Credibility in the world is gained outside the four walls of our church buildings.It is gained by joining civic organizations, offering service to others, and making genuine friendships with people outside our normal circles. There’s no shortcut to this. But the effort is really worth the results.