Do you ever feel like you want to be a "light" to the world around you but you just don't know how? I feel frustrated by this a lot...actually overwhelmed by it some days. In the San Francisco Bay area over 95% of people are unchurched and unreached by the Gospel. That statistic is suffocating to me at times...like if I'm standing in line at Starbucks and I think to myself, "I am likely the only person in this store who has HOPE for eternity." Or when I talk with other moms at the playground and I can see how much their lives would benefit from having God's guidance in their decision making or His strength in their struggles or His peace in their pain. When you read a statistic like that 95% it can be shocking. But when you look in their eyes, it is heart wrenching. I know I have what they need. And they don't know they need it and may not think they want it. So what can I do? I'm just one person trying to be a light in my corner of the globe.
Andy and I (along with the Santos family) decided to host a neighborhood lunch this Saturday. It's really a very small and simple thing. We made a flier (4 per page) with the info about the cookout and then walked around our apartments door-to-door to invite people. Most people weren't home so we just left it on their door. But the people who did answer the door were nice and surprised by this gesture of friendship. It took about 45 minutes to invite over 40 "units" last night after supper. We're planning on inviting some more tonight. On Saturday, we'll just grill out, talk, and let our kids play together. It's really not a big deal.
We are just advertising the cookout as a way to meet the neighbors. South Bay Church's name is not on this event. We will not do any formal announcements and most importantly this is not a bait-and-switch (i.e. get everyone in one place and then force them to listen to the "Bridge Diagram"). We genuinely just want to meet our neighbors. We are hoping to build some friendships through this event that can develop over time and maybe, one day, we'll be able to share the love of Christ with them.
I'm writing this on my blog because I'm hoping you will see how simple this is and be motivated to do something in your sphere of influence. Be creative and share your ideas with me, too! You don't need to prepare a sermon or sparse Greek verbs to be a light to your world. You just need a little intentionality and the realizations that you've got something amazing to offer.
I'm currently reading Bill Hybels' book, "Just Walk Across the Room" that talks about personal evangelism in a way that's not scary or intimidating or just downright weird. There's a prayer in the book that I wrote on a notecard and plan on reading each morning. I'll end with this:
"My life is in Your hands, God. Use me to point someone toward You today--I promise to cooperate in any way I can. If You want me to say a word for You today, I'll do that. If You want me to keep quiet but demonstrate love and servanthood, by Your Spirit's power I will. I'm fully available to you today, so guide me by Your Spirit."