Lesson Learned in a Starbuck's

Today I had a very VERY interesting encounter with God.  And he really punched me in the gut on this... I don't think I'm going to sleep for days thinking and praying on this one...

There I was, sitting quietly in a Starbuck's, enjoying my morning Green Tea (gotta cut down on the coffee) and reading a book on church growth.  This morning was a bit different since I was in a completely different city since I had driven my mother in law to a doctor's appointment and was there waiting for appointment to be over. 

Now... I normally don't ease drop on nearby conversations... but the excitement and discussion at the table across from me caught my attention and I found myself trying to hear what they were talking about.  There were four people at this table, 3 men, 1 woman:  3 in their twenties the other maybe mid forties... After listening for a minute I came to realize that they were the leadership team of a nearby church.  Didn't hear if it was a new church plant or not... but I got the sense they were talking about a new church or revamping an existing one.  Either way they were incredibly excited about everything they were talking about.

They talked about reaching their community which is far from Christ.  They used all the buzz words we say now like vision and focus and direction and purpose.  They talked about reaching the hurting and lost near them.  They talked about their worship service and all the stuff they wanted to do there.  They talked about their children's program and how that is going to connect with the community.  All this stuff was creating quite the little buzz at their little table.

They wrapped up their meeting, said their goodbyes, pulled out their cell phones to return calls and headed off in their separate directions...

And that's when God punched me in the stomach.  Really hard!  In fact, it was so hard that I nearly started crying right there on the spot.

With all their excitement about reaching people far from God, I didn't see a single one of them engage in any kind of way with anyone else in that Starbuck's.  No simple "Good morning" to the ladies at the next table.  No friendly smile to the cute little baby chewing on that huge cookie.  No "Thanks You" to the staff who served them.  No "Hello" to the guy sitting alone who looks like he's about to start crying...  They had their church meeting, and then took off to get the work done.  None of them did anything to engage any of the people right there where they were.

And the reason this hit me so hard is because that is exactly what I do.

I am in no way judging this group.  But I truly believe that God gave me a HUGE reminder on this one... and it's this.  Do we really care about the lost as much as we say that we do???  I mean really care, like care to the point that we actually make an effort to talk to strangers and to show love and kindness wherever we go?  Do we care enough to embarrass ourselves by sharing our faith?  Do we care enough about reaching lost people that we're willing to upset Christians in our churches who think the programs should all be about their needs?  Do we really care?  

Do I???

I'm praying now that God will just completely and totally break my heart for people far from him!  I'm praying that God will not let me sleep at night because of the hurt that he's put on me for people (got that prayer from Craig Groeschel - love it!)  I pray that I NEVER become so busy with the work of the local church that I forget to be a follower of Jesus first and foremost!

I'm also praying for that leadership team that everything they planned happens for them!  After all, that's what being the church is all about.  Thanks guys for being a part of something great :)


i have been thinking and praying through similar concepts for the last couple of weeks. it started right around lent where i was challenged by what my vision is and what is actually happening. God is encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone, to actually engage my non-Christian friends and to make new friends in my community. steve and i are in an after-school program and i was excited today to see how many parents i said good morning to and smiled at.
thanks for sharing:)
Anonymous said…
I think we throw around the word "love" so much, we really have no concept of what that word actually means. Our deeds don't save our souls, but they do show what is in our hearts. If we do not have love, we are merely a clanging cymbal. In other words, we can say whatever the heck we want that sounds great and impress our fellow "christians"; but our deeds will prove us liars or not.

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