Anyway, so an Ordinary Attempt (OA) is basically a really non-standard evangelism. They call it "doable evangelism for ordinary people". Examples include:
- Praying for people who seem stressed out as you go through your day. (No, they don't need to know...you can "pray behind their backs".)
- Free attention giveaways -- actively listening to people and having real conversations. (Isn't it sad that we have to treat this as a new idea?)
- Noticing the people around you as you go about your day -- any maybe even actually thinking about them! (Rather than always thinking about yourself, what you need to get done, etc.)
- Intentional acts of kindness.
This reminds me of something that Jacob's Porch (the Lutheran Campus Ministry at The Ohio State University) started doing last year. One of the students there formed "a group of people who are interested in reaching out to others without any ulterior motive. What if as a church we gave away free food and purposefully never let them know where we were from so that this would not be a tool to get them to come to join us or be an advertisement, but simply to tell them someone loves them." Based on the emails I've seen, some of their ideas on ways to seek opportunities to radically show God's grace simply through organized chaos for the sake of love rather than an ultimate agenda or residual reward have included:
- Taking pillows to people in the hospital just because they could use them.
- Giving out free food without telling people who they are, simply because it's nice to do.
- Randomly washing cars in their lot. (God's love is free, so is this carwash...)
- Mobile soup kitchen: setting up a table on a busy sidewalk and handing out soup and sandwiches to those who pass by.
I don't know exactly what they have and haven't done, but I'm intrigued. What if Christians and Christian communities everywhere started doing things merely because they were nice things to do? What if people walked down the street handing out clothing just becuase they realized that they've been blessed with more than they need...more than they can really use? What if every Christian community took the locks off their doors to their facilities, leaving them open to the hungry and homeless...with pantries full of food and sanctuaries full of beds? What if congregants dropped in on the way home from work to lend a listening ear to those who were their...letting them know that they are loved?
When another care cuts us off on the road, what if we prayed for peace for the driver, rather than cursing them and blaring our horns? What if we were courteous to the telemarketers who call us during dinner, praying for God's sustaining presence and spirit to be with them, rather than making a rude retort before slamming the phone receiver back on its hook? What if we, as Chrsitians, really truly prayed for our enemies? Heck, what if we actually even spent more time praying for our friends? What if churches spent more time focusing on the world than on their buildings, furniture, and personal happiness? What if Christians spent more time thinking about others than we spend thinking about ourselves?
What if our understanding of evangelism wasn't 100% focused on "when are we going to tell them about Jesus?" (We already are, in everything we do. See my previous post.) What if we took seriously our vocation as members of the body of Christ? What if today, we started trying to live as the hands and feet that carry on the ministry of healing and listening that Jesus started in the Gospels? What would that world look like?
What if this radical revolution, this modern day reformation, this fire, could be kindled by a single person person or a number of small groups? What if it has already begun?
What am I going to do about it? Am I going to join in the movement, or sit on the sidelines? I certainly don't plan to let other people have all the fun, so what will my contribution look like?
What do you think your contribution will look like?