Awkward Outreach

One of the battles we face as Christians is the feeling that we are not adequate to reach out to our not-yet believing friends and community. We are so scared to make fools of ourselves. Scared we will say the wrong thing. Scared that we will come off awkward and out of touch. God has allowed me and my wife Ashley to reach out and serve thousands of people in practical ways through our Kindness Outreaches. When someone is scared to come with us they usually say something like, “I’m not like you guys, I’m awkward…God can’t use me!” Well i want to tell you today that is a lie from the enemy! Ashley and I have had countless awkward moments on outreaches where we feel like we made fools of ourselves. To illustrate this, here is our Top 3 most awkward moments on an outreach:

#3 “Is This Mom?”

On this particular Kindness Outreach our college ministry was helping incoming freshman move all of their stuff into their on campus dorms. We had tons of great connections and God really moved that day. However, there was one instance where Ashley and i were moving in a freshman guy who had a lady in sunglasses that was accompanying him. Ashley tried to make small talk to make a connection with the guy we were moving in. Referring to the lady Ashley asked, “Is this Mom?” The lady quickly takes off her sunglasses and responds, “Um no, i’m only 19” Ashley feeling super awkward now tries to save her self, but asks the only question that could possibly turn out more awkward than the “Is This Mom?” question……she asked “Oh is this your girlfriend”……complete awkward silence followed. The freshman guy just responds “Um… no” as in, we have not discussed that yet. Needless to say we moved them in and fled from the scene where a forced “Define The Relationship” meeting was happening!

#2 Accidentally Spit in Lady’s Mouth When Asking To Pray For Her

We all know that “P” words are especially prone for a flyer to pop out of our mouth when speaking. I learned this the hard way. I was making a really great connection with a lady and after serving her in a practical way I asked what I usually ask, “Can I say a quick 10 second PRAYER for you” The second i uttered the word prayer, a nice ball shaped flyer came right out of my mouth and like a buzzer beating shot in the NBA Finals it went SWOOOOSH!!!, right in the basket that was her mouth. I instantly blacked out in a coma of Awkwardness, and still to this day I am not sure what I prayed. Whatever it was, the lady played it off like nothing happened…. but we both knew what had taken place that day.

#1 Passing Out Coffee With A Bloody Finger

This one takes the prize! On a cold day during a parade, our Kindness Outreach team was passing out free Starbucks coffee to 100’s of people at the parade. The outreach was going great! I approached a lady and told her we were serving people in a practical way by giving out free Starbucks coffee. She was very excited and told me what all she wanted in her coffee. I whipped up her coffee and handed it to her and moved on like nothing had happened. Although i was oblivious, Ashley saw that as I handed this lady her coffee, she instantly started gagging and threw the coffee in the trash. Ashley quickly came up to me and said very sweetly, “Austin….look at your finger” I looked down in horror at my finger as the previous menacing hangnail had turned in to a free flowing bloody river.….I had been passing out free coffee to show the love of Christ WITH A BLOODY FINGER!!!

The truth is, there are going to be awkward moments when we reach out. In fact, if you are not having awkward moments that means that you are not reaching out enough! The majority of times when we step out and serve others with kindness God does amazing things. Ashley and I have incredible stories of things God allowed us to see just because we stepped out and loved in practical ways regardless of how awkward we felt at times. If you think you are awkward, too weak, or not qualified enough to reach people, just know this: God has taken awkward, weak, and unqualified people to free slaves, slay giants, and lead nations. The one who came in perfection, Jesus, said he came to serve others not to be served by them. So remember this: When you serve people they are seeing a picture of Jesus…and that my friends is anything, but Awkward!