Have you ever noticed a common thread in sermon illustrations about encountering non-Christians?

I just returned from a ministry conference. Headline speakers included high-profile preachers. And once again, I heard the familiar sermon illustrations. They begin with, “I wound up sitting next to this person on the airplane.”

The stories invariably continue with confessions that the preachers just want to cocoon and be with themselves on the airplane. “But this woman starts talking, and asking what I do for a living. I can’t escape! I’m strapped next to this woman for next four hours!”

Have you ever wondered why the only non-Christians that preachers seem to encounter are on airplanes? Maybe with all the staff meetings, hours and hours of sermon prep, reading and planning, there’s no time left to be with regular people. The only place to be exposed to regular people is 30,000 feet above the ground, when escape is rather difficult.

If we’re going to be salt and light, or even talk about being salt and light, maybe we need to get out more. Spend a little less time reading about people–and go out and BE with real people.