We did our coffee cart outreach again this morning. This ministry involves offering free coffee/muffins and conversation to folks passing by our building. Immediately outside the front door of our building is a sidewalk and a bus stop, resulting in lots of foot traffic. This allows us to meet neighbors, learn about the neighborhood, refer people to services that can help them off the street, start a friendship, invite people to join us for worship, and often speak about Jesus and offer a Bible.
Thank you Joshua and Chris for serving. We spoke to around 20 (or more) people who stopped at the cart. To be fair, I didn't count, but there about that many muffins missing from the box of 32.
Here are a few things I am aware of today:
- One of the best things about serving is the fellowship. We not only got to take more steps toward being the light of the world, we got to build our friendships along the way. When you read the New Testament, you get the impression that both Jesus and Paul almost always had a group working together. I had a great time hanging out, laughing, and hearing more about the lives and testimonies of my friends. Iron sharpens iron when we work together.
- Our neighborhood is deeply broken. Close to half of the people we encounter are either homeless or affected by drug addiction. To be fair, others spoke about the great things in the neighborhood as well. But the pain is palpable. One man that we spoke to said he was in rehab and was walking to the nearby methadone clinic. I asked him how things were going with the program, he said he felt like a slave. That is what sin does to all of us.
- Consistency makes a difference. We have now served coffee and snacks 3 times in the last 5 weeks. We are seeing some repeat customers. This is really good! Today one couple from the neighborhood that was jogging stopped by for coffee because they saw us on a previous day and were curious.
- There are many open doors. If you don’t act like a pushy salesman, if you don't dominate the conversation most people are willing to dialogue about their lives and faith. Many are even interested in this topic. I think we have to work on overcoming the fact that many Christians act like awkward salesmen in such contexts. Think of the rude people at the mall kiosks. But, if you truly care about people, ask questions about their lives, and are genuinely interested in others, a lot of doors can open. This means there is room for people that don’t feel like evangelists. A smile and a friendly conversation helps to build bridges for the future.
- We are fighting a long term battle. We don’t have to win the war today. Not everyday of the year is a day for reaping. We trust that the Lord will open and close doors. We may plant or water today and someone else may reap tomorrow. We are willing to pray, labor and trust God for the results.