In a heartfelt note to me, Al described himself as a “former highly driven, money-motivated entrepreneur.” He usually worked sixty hours a week at his consulting business. Though he was raised attending church, he says he “evaporated” shortly after his first communion service as a teenager. And while he had possessed a childhood faith, he had long since forgotten God by the time he got into his late thirties. Looking back now, he says, his spiritual condition was as cold as the blustery winter night when he ran into some people from our church doing a coffee outreach.
Along with several hundred other moviegoers, Al was waiting in a long line on the opening night of a popular movie. The frigid weather made the wait downright painful. To his surprise, a number of people were making their way through the crowd offering hot drinks to the movie fans as the line snaked its way into the theater. He was more curious about these people than just the free drinks they were offering. When they came up to him, they offered him a hot chocolate or coffee to show him “God’s love in a practical way.” He said no thanks to the drink but took the card, which had information with the church’s name, phone number, and location. His skepticism came out immediately: “Oh, I get it, you’re doing this so I’ll come to your church, right?” He wasn’t ready for their response.
“We’d be thrilled if you came to our church, but no, we’re not doing this for that reason. We’re here because it’s cold and you look like you could use some warmth! Besides that, God really loves you!” He could have fended off about any other response than that. He said he was so moved by their compassion, authenticity, and dedication that he could scarcely enjoy the movie! He did come to church the following weekend and the weekend after that and so on. It’s been three years since that winter night, and Al has not only come to Christ, he also has grown immensely in his Christian life. He is now one of our most prolific leaders in reaching out with servant evangelism. In fact, he travels to other cities to teach churches how to do servant evangelism!
Steve Sjogren, 101 Ways to Reach Your Community (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2009).