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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kindness

Recently I finished reading a book called Conspiracy of Kindness. The author is Steve Sjogren; a pastor from Cincinnati, Ohio. Sjogren has developed a rather novel approach to evangelism that he believes is modeled after the life and actions of Jesus. He, and members of his congregation, go out into the city to do acts of kindness to the people who live there, and they do it all for free!

On most Saturday mornings, a variety of volunteers from the congregation assemble at the church storeroom and equip themselves with whatever equipment they will need for 1 ½ hours of work, then head off to “show people God’s love in a practical way.” Some pick up rakes and go out to rake leaves for seniors. Others take cleaning supplies and go to the mall to clean windows or toilets for the store owners. Still others might load cases of soft drinks or popsicles to be given away at a local park. Still others pick up squeegees and head for the mall parking lot to wash people’s windshields. The key is that it is always a free act of kindness. When people ask, “How much?” their answer is always the same; “Its free. We are doing this just to show you God’s love in a practical way.” No proselytizing, no preaching, no pressure.

You can probably guess that Sjogren has many stories that have resulted from this approach. You’ll have to read the book if you want to know more, but I will repeat one brief, amusing story here. It seems a father and his eight-year-old son were in the back yard playing catch when the son asked his dad a question he didn’t know how to answer. “Dad, is there a God?”

The father was stumped. He had only been to church a couple of times, and really didn’t know how to answer. “I don’t know, son” he finally replied. The son ran into the house and came back with a helium balloon from the circus to which he attached a note that said, God, if you are real and you are there, send some people who know you to Dad and me. Not wanting to dampen his son’s enthusiasm, the father kept silent but added his own prayer, God, I hope you’re watching.

Two days later, volunteers from the congregation were conducting a free car wash, and the father and son stopped by.

Dad: “How much?”
Sjogren: “It’s free.”
Dad: “Really! Why are you doing this?”
Sjogren: “We just want to show you God’s love in a practical way.”
Dad: (incredulously) “Wait a minute! Are you guys Christians?”
Sjogren: “Yeah, we’re Christians.”
Dad: “Are you the kind of Christians who believe in God?”
Sjogren (with a smile): “Yes, we’re that kind of Christians.”
Dad: (after telling the story of the helium balloon) I guess you’re the answer to one of the strangest prayers God ever received!”

Sjogren has written several books, but the one where he initially describes his method is Conspiracy of Kindness. First published in 1993, the book is old now, but it is still well worth the read.

Posted by Carman

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou Carman.I'm going to go out and buy this book. These are MY kind of Christians.

    ReplyDelete