“I Go to that Church”

Dear Friends,

Every haircut comes with a conversation – or at least with the opportunity for a conversation.  Some of us visit the same barber or stylist we have been seeing for years.  The conversation might be one of old friends.  I, however, go where it is convent (i.e. cheap!), and I frequently find myself in conversation with a stranger, but I also find that those wielding the scissors are usually fairly good at making small talk.
Often the conversation moves quickly between family, life around town, and work and career.  One haircut, the young woman replied, “Oh, I go to that church!” when I told her where I worked.
I glanced in the mirror and did not recognize her face.  My (less than charitable) initial though was “No you don’t.”  I probed:  “Winter Park Presbyterian Church???”
“Yeah, all the time,” she said.  I knew that wasn’t true. Why was she saying that?
And then it dawned on me.  “Do you attend one of the NA or AA meetings at the church?”
“Yeah, we meet Monday and Friday.”  She went on to explain how great a help those Narcotics Anonymous meetings were to her.
Two strains of thought came into my mind following that conversation.  First, it reminded me that hosting the NA and AA (and Scout) meetings at Winter Park is both an act of hospitality and of mission.  Those groups are about the business of transforming (and rebuilding) lives.  Every morning and four evenings a week hundreds of people find an open place to meet at WPPC.
The second thought was that I would define “I go to that church” a little bit differently.  I would have in mind participation in the life of worship, study, fellowship, and service of the church.  I wouldn’t say she was wrong in her claim, but she reminded me that as a church we are surrounded by a great mission field.  Are there subtle, caring, and appropriate ways that we can witness to the many people who gathering in our building each week?  How can we witness to those who drive past us each day or who we encounter as strangers or friends outside our church walls?  There is quite a bit of work to do.  Let’s do it!
Grace and Peace,

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