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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Sharing the Joy

Sharing the Joy

By Amy Patsch

Amy Patsch
Amy Patsch

My church is looking for a pastor. In order to have all things in place when God sends him to us we are purposely seeking new members and friends from our Ocean City community. We want others to know of our God and invite them to join us in worship.

Our very creative Membership and Evangelism Committee has developed several ways for each of the current attendees to reach out to our neighbors who may be unchurched and to invite them to join us Sunday mornings. One of the ways they have developed is to have a lovely business card made up with our church name, phone number, address and an invitation to join us in magnifying our Lord.

I live in a neighborhood with an apartment complex behind my house. Often I have wanted to meet my neighbors. Their back porches face my backyard and only a few of those neighbors make use of their porches. Now, you might suppose that would make my awkward attempts to get to know my neighbors easier because there are only a few to start with. But, I confess I am not comfortable walking up to someone’s porch and saying hello uninvited. 

When we were given these lovely business cards to hand out I asked for extra cards. My husband, Neil, and I agreed that we would make an effort to give out one or two every week. It has been four weeks and I still have all my cards and so does Neil. 

I love my church. We have wonderful preaching, great music and the Holy Spirit is alive and working there so why does inviting someone to my church seem so hard? I am guessing I fear they would be insulted or offended. But then I read a statistic that 83% of the people that visit a church are there because someone asked them to come. That number certainly should motivate me to at least approach my neighbors.

I’m starting small. I finally went up to a neighbor’s porch and said “Hello,” and gave her my name and got her name. We didn’t speak otherwise but she seemed quite friendly and over the course of time that she has lived in her unit we have waved upon seeing each other so it was my easiest way to break through my fear. No, I have not gotten to the point of handing her a card and inviting her but I hope to at least sometime get into a conversation with her and maybe that will lead to more.

I have written about my cousin’s son whose main job with YWAM is as a street evangelist. He is carefree and easy about meeting new people. We were with his father recently and I certainly see where Tim gets this trait. My cousin must have stopped and talked to at least three people while we were on a quick tour of the Wildwood Boardwalk and Cape May. It is very natural for him to turn around, introduce himself, and make a new friend. This is something I would like to learn.

My friend, Janet, is also one who will stop anyone, anywhere and start up a conversation. I have even felt a bit embarrassed as she does this but I cannot recall a single person whom she has blessed with her approach seem the least bit offended, and often I have noticed they are smiling when she leaves them.  Oh, how I want to be able to do this very thing. To walk as Jesus walked very comfortably addressing total strangers and inviting them into the Kingdom.

I so much want to be able to tell everyone about the saving grace and goodness of Jesus. I have to convince myself that I’m not selling something no one needs because everyone benefits by knowing Jesus. They may choose not to be a follower but just having the ability to make that choice can be life altering.

So, when am I going to get tough with myself? I have the joy of Jesus in my heart so this should be the easiest thing on Earth for me to do. But how do I start that conversation? Holding the card out first and explaining our church’s outreach? Maybe chatting for a bit first and then making an invitation? Possibly either one depending on the situation. So, I asked myself what did the disciples of Jesus do? They just went to the people and told them of their excitement of finding the Messiah. I will need to practice more.

I do pray I get better at meeting people because I so love to chat with others about everything and more so about my God. Thankfully, He is still working on me yet.

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com.

Columnist

Amy Patsch writes religious and faith-based opinion content for the Cape May County Herald.

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