Written by: Scott Colburn
On a beautiful fall afternoon I got to do something I don't do often enough: walk down the street outside our cafe to do neighborhood evangelism. My priest, Fr. Scott, drove over from Ambridge to go with me. We were handing out bookmarks advertising the healing prayer night at the Cafe the next Saturday.
We walked up to a nearby highrise apartment building where a few people are always sitting outside or going in and out. Lots of our cafe friends live there. I felt I was hosting Fr. Scott on “my turf” and I wanted him to meet some people he could talk to. We talked with an old fellow who was walking by, and then I went to talk with a morose looking lady who had a long list of woes, but she also turned out to have a mutual friend with me, a Salvation Army lady who had just moved out of town to work at a mission in Maryland with some of my other friends. So she went from stranger to pal in a second and I prayed with her. We talked with a few more folks walking in and out, then went back to the main street. We blessed folks at the bus stop, passed by the cafe where I introduced one of our regulars to my priest, and went up the street. We went to another apartment building with lots of people always sitting outside, and Fr. Scott got in a long, hilarious conversation with a man sitting out with his friends. I prayed with some more folks and then joined Fr. Scott and Mr. George to pray with them. By then we'd been out on the street a whole hour, and it was nothing as awkward or hard to talk with people as I had feared.
Church or cafe, when we work in an “inside” ministry it sometimes becomes easier to wait in there for people to come to us. But most of the people are out living their lives and don't know to or don't feel comfortable coming in to hear about the Gospel. I know there are some street corner preachers in our area, some of them with megaphones, and I admire their courage. I also know that it's hard to listen to people when you're speaking into a megaphone to passing traffic. I like our ministry of listening, giving people space, and praying with them. It was sweet to go do ministry with Fr. Scott, in a week that saw the tenth anniversary of my going to his church and the 11th anniversary of my coming to the cafe. After all those years, I'm not a great evangelist, but I use the gifts I have and The Holy Spirit is the one who calls people, anyway.