Posted in Grace, Ministry

Walk-in business has been pretty good lately

Lately I’ve had a lot of walk-in business. Just like the hair salon where someone walks in without an appointment for a haircut, I’ve had a number of people walk in (literally, or by email, or by phone) in search of what I’ll call “spiritual services.” A number of people I’ve never met have called to ask, “Can you perform our wedding?” Or “Can my child(ren) come to confirmation class?” Or, “Can I do some community service hours at your church?”

My first response is, “Who are you?” Well, maybe not in those exact words. But I am always curious how people decided to call me. Remember, these are folks who have had no affiliation with our church and who have never met me. I’ve come to recognize that the church has become for many a place where you go to get certain spiritual services, just as you might go to Jiffy Lube for an oil change or to a chiropractor for an adjustment. There will probably be no lasting connection, but for the time being, you’re the right man for the job.

Sometimes there is a connection, albeit remote. “My friend’s grandnephew had a friend who knew someone whose wedding you performed on the beach.” Another interesting connection: “My daughter went to your church’s preschool years ago.” Or sometimes I get the call by accident. They thought I was someone else or our church was the one on the other side of the interstate.

So what do you do? How should I respond? Chances are once the service has been performed, I will never see them again. Am I just a technician who’s been certified in spiritual ceremonies? Over the years I’ve gotten a little more accommodating. I’ve come to accept each request as an an opportunity. The Holy Spirit must be at work in there somewhere. I may be part of a much bigger project to connect someone to God’s grace. I might meet someone else in the process who needs some good news (of which I have plenty to share). So I usually give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ll marry you. But you’re going to learn something about Jesus in the process. I’ll help you teach your kids. But we’re going to talk a lot about Jesus.

Lots of people came to Jesus for his healing or demon-casting-out services. But they came face-to-face with the Son of God. You never know.

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