While attending a recent conference with Connecting Streams as a volunteer photographer, the Lord dropped into my heart this little parallel between the principles of wildlife photography and the process of sharing with a lost soul his or her need for Jesus, or of guiding a wounded soul back to the cross with comfort and assurance.
As a wildlife photographer, I have learned some lessons along the way. I’ve also come to realize how much more there is still to learn, both about photography and about wildlife. As a young photographer, I would often rush into a situation to get a good picture, only to find that I had scared the animals away and lost the opportunity. I soon learned over time to move more slowly and cautiously, often waiting for their reaction before making my next move. I responded according to their reaction. When they observed me as less of a threat, they became more comfortable around me, which allowed me to get much closer to my subject rather than scaring them off.
While some animals are similar in nature, many can be very different in character and react quite differently depending on the situation or environment; thus, they must be approached accordingly. How I respond to their reaction will often make a huge difference as to whether I create a special opportunity or lose one very, very quickly.
This principle seems to work well with both wildlife photography and with sharing Jesus. When witnessing, approaching slowly and responding according to the people’s reaction will not only build trust, but it will also remove the false assumption of you being a threat to them. Remember, you are entering THEIR space. Show them some respect and they just might share some of it with you!