Why Drive for Uber?
It’s been more than three weeks since I started driving part-time for Uber. The reason I started driving for Uber was two-fold: 1) try to earn supplemental income; 2) create new opportunities to communicate the gospel with lost people. While the income has been minimal (after expenses, not even minimum wage), the gospel opportunities have been plentiful. I call the effort “ubervangelism.”
That First Uber Ride
I was nervous the first time I logged on to Uber as an available driver. My first ride was a young lady. As I stopped to pick her up, her boyfriend literally walked out of some bushes. The two climbed into my backseat. As an old, retired street cop, I was not used to having strangers in my back seat without a solid, steel screen separating us. I was so nervous on that first trip that I made a couple of wrong turns and dropped the couple about a block away from their destination.
I had three more rides that day, over a two-hour period. No, I didn’t share the gospel with any of my riders. I was too nervous and wanted to get folks from Point A to Point B, in one piece.
Ubervangelism: How I Do It.
Two decades of on the streets as a cop, and almost as long on the streets as an evangelist, has taught me many things. One is this: people love to talk about their favorite subject: themselves. So, that’s what I try to do with every rider–get them talking about themselves.
If the person seems at all hesitant to talk, I let them know that I won’t be offended if they would rather not have a conversation. Some people are preoccupied with where they’re going, what they’re about to do, or some other facet of life. Some people are on their way to work, or a job interview. And not everyone has the gift of gab like, say, a street evangelist. Fortunately, most of my riders have welcomed conversation.
Transitioning the Conversation
When the time seems opportune, I offer some information about myself: how long I’ve lived in the area; where I’m from; why I moved to Iowa. Invariably, when a rider hears that I moved from beautiful Southern California to the Quad Cities, he or she asks, “Why did you move here?”
This allows for a very natural segue into a spiritual conversation. I tell the rider that I served as a deputy sheriff in Los Angeles. When I retired from that career, I entered into full-time Christian ministry. A church in Davenport supported my work in California. A few years ago the church asked me to move my family to Iowa and continue the work, as part of the church family. So, we moved to Davenport.
“So, how about you? Do you have any spiritual beliefs? Do you worship at a particular church?” I ask.
The above questions flow naturally from my testimony of how and why I moved my family to the Quad Cities.
A Testimony, Not an Interrogation
To date, I’ve had more than 130 riders in my car. Many have professed to be Christians. Most have not. I’ve also had the pleasure of having people of various religions in my car, such as Muslims and Hindus. I’ve listened to Christian testimonies lacking anything resembling repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, listened to the explanations of tenets of false religions, and listened to stories about why people don’t ascribe to any particular faith.
Not a single argument or across or uncharitable word has yet been uttered in my car. No one has gotten angry, and no one has complained to Uber. The reason: I don’t interrogate my riders about what they believe overtly correct their theology. I testify to what I believe and communicate the truth of God’s Word to them. I simply allow the Word of God and the truth of the gospel to penetrate their hearts and minds if God wills that to happen. And I do that by communicating my Christian testimony.
If the rider has questions or comments of a spiritual nature after I’ve communicated my testimony and the gospel, I will take these opportunities to gently, even whimsically (when appropriate) correct their thinking. When appropriate and warranted, I always try to begin my responses with ‘The Bible teaches…” I want to assure my riders that the authority with which I speak is not my own, but God’s.
Gospel Tracts and the Gospel of John
Whether or not I have a spiritual conversation with a rider, I always try to put a gospel tract into his or her hand.
Attached to the back of my driver seat is a multi-pocket pouch. It contains gospel tracts and copies of the Gospel of John. I let my riders know the literature is free for the taking. I’ve had riders initiate spiritual conversations because they saw the Christian literature in the car.
Each Rider Has Hired Me for a Service
I’m always mindful that riders have hired me to provide a service–to take them from Point A to Point B. They have not hired me to preach to them.
The person in my back seat has climbed into a car with a stranger. He or she might be nervous, too. While a captive audience can be a good evangelism opportunity, I do my best to be extra-gentle and wise because the person is stuck in my car and has paid to be there.
My goal is not to evangelize in such a way as to guarantee the revocation of my driving privileges. My goal is to evangelize in such a way as to be allowed to continue the driving for Uber, so I can reach more people with the gospel. Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Nine More Gospel Opportunities Today
I engaged in Ubervangelism today for about 3 1/2 hours. I had nine riders. All nine received gospel tracts. The Lord blessed me by allowing me to meet Craig, Rick, Darrel, Ellen (and her son Michael) Sadie, Zachary, Lois, Athena, and Cristal.
Craig is a truck driver. He’s about to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary. Together he and his wife have six kids. The two youngest are twins. His wife is applying to enter a police academy. I wrote my name and number on the gospel tract I gave him, with the offer to talk to him and his wife about life behind the badge.
Rick works part-time in the commissary, at a local military installation. He also works as an usher at the stadium of our local, minor league baseball team. He was happy that Uber is using the colors of the LGBTQ flag on its app for Pride Month.
Darrel works in the deli at Walmart. He’s been there for three years. He likes working in the back preparing food because he’s not a “people person.”
Ellen and her son Michael were on their way to her dad’s house to help him get ready for a doctor’s appointment. Theirs is a blended family. Their pitbull-mix puppy is eating everything in the house.
Sadie is going to school to be a nurse. Her dad pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 90’s.
Zachary just graduated from high school and is working at a local sandwich shop. He and his family are originally from Southern California.
Lois had me take her to a hair and spa appointment. Her daughter and grandsons had been visiting for a spell and left just this morning. She needed to recoup after wrangling two very active boys. She said she is active in her church.
Athena needed a ride home from the grocery store. Her car wouldn’t start this morning. She returned home at 2:00 AM this morning from an international business trip.
I didn’t learn much about Christal, besides the fact she grew up in the area. She was too busy correcting my GPS directions. She seemed fixated on O.J. Simpson and the price of housing in Los Angeles.
Nine people and nine gospel opportunities, in just a few hours time.
Ubervangelism: You Can Do It Too
I was surprised at how easy it was to apply, get approved, and start driving for Uber. It took me less than an hour to apply and provide the required documents. Within a couple of days, I received an email congratulating me for being accepted as a driver. An hour later, I was on the road picking up my first riders.
Ubervangelism is easy. It’s so easy even I can do it. And you can do it, too. The Lord literally brings the gospel opportunities into your car.
If you have any questions, just fire away in the “Comments” section below.
If you give Ubervangelism a try, I would love to hear from you.