Abraham Maslow deduced a hierarchy of needs people unconsciously strive for. The second level in his hierarchy is “safety needs”, where a person desires physical protection, security, stability and freedom from fear. The Hemorrhaging Faith report also alluded to this in one of their four drivers (under “Teachings and Beliefs”) where young adults:
- can freely explore the tough issues: sex, different world views, etc. They want to be prepared to face competing ideas.
- have room to wrestle with tough questions as they undergo the process of making the faith their own.
The gospel and the call from Jesus can be hard to comprehend. This isn’t to suggest that following Jesus becomes easy. However, that’s different than creating obstacles for people to explore faith.
A safe place is a perceived neutral space where non-Christian friends feel safe enough to begin exploring the person and message of Jesus. What is perceived as that safe place is really in the eye of the beholder. At times, it could be in public venues like a sporting event (such as our Centre Court event) or it could be in a non-routine place (like a retreat at Muskoka Woods). It could be at a coffee shop in your hometown or even in your own home.
The key is identifying where your students’ invited friends feel a sense of safety, a sense they can ask questions that, to them, feel stupid and not be ridiculed. It’s a place to build trust as they hopefully draw closer to meeting Jesus.