Literally, we met in an elevator at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. He was getting off and I was getting on.
I network a lot and I like to talk to interesting people. So I asked Gary [a Cru staff member] what he did for a living and he asked me. Then he said, "I'd love to get together with you and hear more about what you do."
A couple of weeks later, we met at a Denny's restaurant. Gary brought up nothing about God. Instead, he asked me questions like, "Where are you in terms of relationships in your life?"
It opened my eyes to some things. The next time we got together he asked, "If there was one thing you could change spiritually, what would it be?" My immediate response was, "I don't go to church. I need to go to church more. I need to establish a relationship with God."
I thought going to church was having a relationship. But I came to realize through Gary that going to church is not enough.
He pulled out a pamphlet that walked through the process of starting a relationship with the Lord. When we met for a third time we went through a second booklet on Jesus.
It made me realize I am not as perfect as I thought I was. We are never going to be as perfect as we want to be, no matter how hard we try, especially in God's eyes. But by having a relationship with Him, I don't have to worry about where I am going to end up when I die.
I decided to start a relationship with God at Denny's. At the end of the booklet there was a prayer I could use. Gary said, "You don't even have to say it out loud." And I said, "Well, I kind of want to. Do you mind?"
So I prayed out loud sitting across from Gary at the Denny's restaurant.
My purpose now is to help others in all areas of life: spiritually, emotionally, economically and physically. First and foremost, that means establishing a relationship with God.
Eric Wilkes is a 24-year-old vice president for Lightyear Alliance. The Indiana native has been meeting at Denny's every other week with Gary Kirschman for six months. Gary works with Cru's city ministry.