I spent today travelling to and from Oxford, and attending a meeting in Oxford about churches in Town Centre locations. That very much describes our church (see www.colchesterbaptistchurch.org.uk if you want an idea of what our church looks like and where we are placed in the town).
It was very helpful to hear what other churches are doing and have done and be reminded of the mission imperative for us all. I have come back with lots of possibilities in my mind. Most of all I am aware that I need to model this for others in the church – both to have integrity if this is what I am teaching about and also to lead by example. I am still trying to work out exactly what it may look like for me, but one thought I have so far is to set up my magic table on the street outside our church from time to time and offer to do some magic tricks for passers-by.
A phrase that I found helpful is that what we do on the streets near our church near to be grace-high and content-low. In other words we should be offering things to people on the streets rather than preaching at them.
One cold evening during the Christmas holiday season, a little boy about six or seven was standing out in front of a shop window. The little child had no shoes on and his clothes were mere rags.
A young woman passing by saw the little boy and could read the longing in his pale blue eyes. She took the child by the hand and led him into the shop. There she bought him new shoes and a complete suit of warm clothing.
They came back outside into the street and the woman said to the child, “Now you can go home and have a very happy holiday.”
The little boy looked up at her and asked, “Are you God?”
She smiled down at him and replied, “No, I’m just one of His children.”
The little boy then said, “I knew you had to be some relation.”
A pastor is walking down the street one day when he notices a very small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the boy is very small and the doorbell is too high for him to reach.
After watching the boys efforts for some time, the pastor moves closer to the boy’s position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder leans over and gives the doorbell a solid ring.
Crouching down to the child’s level, the pastor smiles benevolently and asks, “And now what, my little man?”
The boy smiled and replied, “Now we run!”