11/17/13 Arnold, Rudy both middle age
I will miss Dominicks. This upscale neighborhood grocery store chain has been a Chicago fixture for years. Today it was a warm, friendly place to ride out one of Chicago’s storms even with the power out and only the backup generator lights on. They do a great job of attracting a wide variety of people from many economic backgrounds to buy their staple and gourmet food products, and they also do a great job of attracting people into a friendly, neutral environment where I can share the Gospel. So I did, first with Arnold, a lapsed church attender who needed and appreciated a friendly reminder to get his priorities back in order, and then with Rudy, a retired fireman and politician who boasted he does “far more good giving out food to poor families than those Jehovah’s Witnesses who only knock on doors” as he put it. That was the beginning of a great conversation that left him “truly enlightened” and gave him some challenging things to think about. My point here is, this happened in a neighborhood grocery store, not in a church. These people were in attendance through no planning, preparation, or expense on my part. I let the world attract them, and I just showed up and shared the Gospel. We need to have a place to invite people to and I was glad to be able to invite the first man, Arnold, back to church, but what would happen if we took the time and effort spent in trying to attract outsiders to all our many church events and instead went out to reach out to them where they are at, not to invite them to a meeting, but to share the Gospel right there on the spot? Isn’t that what outreach should be all about? Let’s stop spinning our tires with all our church busyness and go out to where the world gathers naturally. Dominicks may be closing their doors, but there are still plenty more stores to take their place!