Putting the wrong date on an invitation is usually a bad thing.
Last week I told how our home group was planning to meet in a local park, next to a low-income apartment complex. We decided to have a free BBQ, but we didn’t want to do a “bait-and-switch,” so on the flyers we delivered to every apartment we told them we’re inviting them to hang out with us and talk about Jesus. They knew up front what we were doing. We planned it for Sunday morning from 11-1.
The flyers went out on Thursday, June 7. We talked, planned, and most of all prayed. We got burgers, watermelon, chips, and cookies together and got together early to prepare and wait for people to come.
Finally we talked to one guy. We told him we put out flyers. “Oh, the ones that say ‘June 6’ with no day of the week on them?”
Yes, that would be us.
I’m certain the computer automatically put the date of when it was done. So we now had 50+ apartments, 100 burgers, and 0 people.
We decided we’d better go knocking.
We went around to each complex again, inviting people to come. My wife and I knocked on the door of one woman who was fairly sick and couldn’t come out into the windy cold weather. We said we’d bring her a plate of food. My wife nominated me since I’m medical and the woman was visibly ill. I brought her a plate and got visiting with her. It turns out I had something left over from my mom that was used twice and would be a good help to this new friend. She was very excited to get something that would help her in her illness, and I was excited to give her this device after holding onto it for several years.
I came back to the park and we had several people come and go. I think we ended up with around 20 adults stopping by, with many kids as well. The cool thing about this is it was a good number for us to start with. Between our group of 9 adults, we got to talk to everyone who came for at least a few minutes. I got to meet a couple of guys who were happy to hang out. They liked that people gathered at this park to spend time with them. I talked with them, learned about some of their troubles and their lives. I never had to force it, but I was able to share about Jesus with them.
Everyone in our group had similar stories. It was an amazing time. We wrapped up and I think we all were thinking, “Why hadn’t we done this before?” It was so simple. We served people. We treated them with respect and listened to them. One of our group had prepared a talk, but it didn’t work out.
We hadn’t even decided what we were going to do next week, but we had such a good time we realized we should go back again and build some relationship. We might move to other parks during the summer, but for this week we’ll take the next step. Even though the wrong date could have torpedoed our plans and our resolve, God was good to give us what we could handle.
If you have questions about what we are doing or how things went, I’d be happy to discuss it. We’ll see what the future holds.