Umbrella Outreach

When rain canceled our $1 Car wash (washing cars for free and giving away a dollar) we had scheduled today we had to go with a back up plan to demonstrate God’s love in a practical way. There truly is only one or two Outreaches you can do outside when it is raining. One of them is going to a busy grocery store or shopping mall with a bunch of umbrellas and some people wanting to serve others. The ideal situation would be having a few people at each entrance (we had a bit too many at one entrance) with two umbrellas each. When people come out you can say something like ” Hey we are the free escort service today” or “Hey we are showing God’s love by keeping people dry today” then hand them your extra umbrella and walk with them. As you walk walk with them get to know the people, tell them why you are doing this, and then finally help them load their stuff.

The outreach we did was pretty chaotic at first because is it was thrown together in about 10 minutes after we realized we could not do the car wash because of the rain. We had a group of about 10 and we gathered up as many umbrellas as we could and went out to Wal-mart to escort people from the parking lot to the store and also from the store to their car. Once we got the hang of it and started realizing how to present an umbrella to someone it went pretty smoothly. A lot of people are used to organizations and churches only doing nice things for people just to ask for a donation at the end… especially at Wal mart, So some people would literally walk in the rain instead of take an umbrella escort from us, but for the most part people were receptive and the outreach went very well. Here were a few highlights from the outreach that I noted:

It was hard to talk to people since it was raining so hard. Even though we are more focused on serving people and planting seeds and then letting God water the seed it is nice to be able to have conversations with the people you are serving to dive a little deeper into what is going on in their life. We had a couple instances where this occurred. A few people after talking with them asked for prayer and we prayed for them right there. One of the guys serving with us named Trevor got to pray for a man who asked for and needed prayer. This man had just had an 18 month family member of his pass away in a tragic way and he was needing prayer and Trevor got to pray for him. I also was able to pray for a lady named Barb who just had kidney surgery, after I prayed with her I gave her a big hug and she had tears in her eyes and I felt like she truly got why we were out there… not for donations, but to demonstrate and to comfort people with God’s love.

There is something very powerful about meeting people where they are at in everyday life. Life is hard. Life has troubles. Sometimes people just need someone to go out of their way and be there outside when it is raining with a smile on their face and an extra umbrella in hand (figuratively and literally). I have an opinion that a lot of people who do not have a relationship with God or Jesus get their first true impression of who God is from people that are apart of the church. It is very tantalizing to me that maybe some of these people that we have the privilege of serving in unique, but practical ways are truly getting their first impression of God so that they may start to comprehend just how he served us through Jesus Christ. Maybe some people have had bad first, second, and third impressions of God through troublesome experiences with Christians, but having a few Christians care enough to meet them where they are at and to serve them just to let them know that God loves them could be their first true experience of the living and true God we serve.

I hope that those of you reading this find these ideas and blogs helpful. I appreciate all of you who write me and encourage me to continue updating what we are doing in the Weatherford area, it truly is encouraging. My prayer is that you who are reading this will start serving wherever you are at and with whichever church you call home. Furthermore if you ever want to be apart of what we are doing in the Weatherford area do not hesitate to write me on facebook or call/text me (817.694.6185). We will definitely get you plugged in. Have a great day.

– Austin Cooper