Are your eyes open to the possibilities around you? I confess that I am often so tuned in to my own life, thoughts, issues, lists, plans, and conundrums, that I can be almost oblivious to the world around me. However, our church is involved in a new endeavor. It is called Reaching New People. Basically, this is a new ministry in which the church tries to build relationships with people outside of the church. We ask that church members try to build connections with non-church members. Eventually, these relationships will lead those outside the church to be curious about the church.
Another part of this ministry is to get the pastor out of the church. I am supposed to be building relationships with people outside of our church instead of staying insulated in my office. I must confess that this is a little intimidating. How does one approach total strangers? How do I move beyond a few casual words of greeting to establish more of a relationship. I was coached to have a question ready. I still felt awkward. However, I want to help grow the church. I know that my life is better because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I want others to have that same experience. Because this is important to me, I’m willing to be a little awkward. I’m willing to be a lot awkward.
It was suggested that I get out into the community in places that invite conversation. I go to several places including a couple of nearby coffee shops. I decided that one of the things missing in these adventures in awkwardness was prayer. We have a goal of a prayer team for our events, but we do not have anyone covering our Reaching New People in prayer. This time I prayed before I entered the coffee shop. I confess that it was a prayer of almost desperation. Lord, please let me find someone to talk to!.
I walked in to a new coffee shop. There were very few people in the shop. I found one outlet. It was at the table next to one of the few patrons. I looked at the patron. He was in scrubs! Well, there is a conversation starter. I began by assuring him that I was not trying to invade his space. I told him he was sitting next to the outlet. There was a brief exchange. It was not earth shattering conversation. It also was not awkward. I just talked, listened, and shared.
Thank you, Jesus, for non-awkward conversations. I hope you will pray for me as I continue to search for ways to be in connection with the community. I hope that these regular conversations will open the door for God to move in my life and in the lives of others. I also hope that you will be reaching out to new people, making connections, and transforming the world. We serve a Savior who invited a few close friends into fellowship. Then, they went about changing the world. We can change the world as well, one conversation at a time.