A man, let’s call him John, has just settled into his new life. He could be new in town, starting a new job. He could be divorced and starting fresh. He could be part of a young couple or a young family. He could be newly retired, unemployed, or widowed. There could be many reasons why he has reached the point of being settled in a routine that gets him through the daily must do’s. Now it’s time to branch out and seek out other things and other people.
One of the many places John could look is to volunteer at something? After all he’s always felt like he should give something back or make things better for folks less fortunate. He doesn’t even consider a church. He’s had bad history with churches. They’re either judgmental or hypocritical or both; no that’s not on the list. So John goes online through VolunteerMatch.org and finds a HUD sponsored community learning center.
John settles into a routine of volunteering at the center one night a week. He helps different clients with computer skills. Some kids working homework, some adults learning computer skills, some seniors with emails and researching medical info. He has a number of regulars that he actually looks forward to seeing. One night a group of three new volunteers shows up. The center does have a big turnover in volunteers so John doesn’t think much of it.
The group introduces themselves, they’re from XYZ Church. OK, John has seen a number of church people come and go. They usually are a Youth group that only comes once as some kind of “project”. Or others come for a while, don’t seem to act any different than any other volunteer and lose interest after several weeks. But there is something different about this group? Before they start their work they form a circle and say a prayer? John notices these folks really try to get to know their clients. They talk and laugh. At the end of the evening before they leave they form another prayer circle, a couple clients actually join them.
The weeks go by and the XYZ people become regulars. They generally have a nice chat with John each evening. They ask John if he is involved with a church. He says no, waiting for the “sales” pitch, but it never happens. The XYZ folks always start with their prayer circle and they always invite clients to join, but never push. John notices them really getting to know their clients. Many times he sees them praying with their client and frequently hugging and tears are shed occasionally. John notices their clients smile a lot more than most?
After a couple months John joins in the prayer circle …