This past Saturday our church had a yard sale where everything was free. Our hope was to bless the community with items that may help them and to share information about our church, and more importantly, our Lord. There are several reasons this event encouraged me as a pastor.
The first reason is that it wasn't my idea. Several months ago a lady in our congregation brought up the idea of having people from the church donate items that could be used in a give away for the community. Immediately I thought and heard from others that there were several variables that we need to think through. For instance, what if someone pulled up with a truck and said they wanted it all since it was free. So we decided we had to organize this thing to make sure we were actually accomplishing our goal of blessing those who needed the items and were able to meet as many people as possible. We started with one idea, and then changed it first thing Saturday morning. We changed it to say that everyone could take up to 10 items. However, after about 20 minutes we stopped telling people of the limit and just trusted the Lord would take care of that. He did! We were able to bless around 75-100 people through this outreach.
The second encouraging thing I saw as a pastor was that the people of First Baptist were eager to give for this event. We talked about it for a couple of months and ended up with a lot of items to give away. We had a wide range of things (some that I didn't think would go and they did!), because our people stepped up with a heart to give to this community for the sake of the gospel.
A third encouragement was that I saw the church being intentional not to withdrawal to themselves, but to actually go talk with the visitors who came. There were a lot of great conversations going on that included talks about the Lord and invites to the church. But it went even further. Our people were genuinely taking the time to ask questions to get to know the people better. As a pastor I saw a genuine desire to get to know the visitors as much as possible in that brief window of time.
A fourth encouragement was the emphasis on being faithful. While it's certainly true we hope some of those who came would come and visit with our church and sit under the preaching of the Word, that was not our first concern. We were glad to be obedient and faithful to being a witness to the grace of God through Christ in our lives. The conversations I had Sunday and Monday with our church were all positive about the event. We were glad to have been used by God to bless others and pray that our labors would bring Him glory by bringing others into His kingdom.
There are other things for sure. We learned some things that will be improved upon for next time. We are already planning to do this again in, God-willing, the Spring of next year. But I am thankful that we didn't wait until we had every detail worked out and end up not doing it because of all the questions. First Baptist Church committed to blessing whomever we could and I am thankful to have been a part of this.