Wednesday is for Prayer
Before I became the pastor of Trinity Church, (and before I even knew Manchester Creek Community Church existed) my intention was to plant a new church in the Vernon Hills/Mundelein area of IL. God changed those plans and I don’t need to go into that here. But part of the strategy was to be INTENSELY LOCAL and engaged in the community. Toward that end, I had this experience below.
Think of ways that you can say “yes” to more involvement with your neighbors on their turf.
[ Eleven years ago now. ] In the middle of the day, Tuesday, I got an invitation to a Boys Night Out from one of my fellow classmates in the Citizen’s Police Academy. I have been taking the 12-week class as a way to get to know 10 residents of Vernon Hills as well as the entire police department and how the police view the needs of the community.
Part of being INTENSELY LOCAL in my ministry philosophy is to never say no to an invitation from someone whose faith commitment is unknown to me when they invite me to some social engagement. So off I drove to Mickey Finn’s Bar and Grill in Libertyville for a night with some strangers 8:30-11:00 PM. At our table sat Tom, George, Kyle, Karl, Hank and John (I’ve changed their names for this blog entry). We ordered drinks and a bottomless basket of chips and salsa (best salsa I ever had by the way) and the conversation began.
It was a great time. I like each of these guys. And now I know five more residents of Vernon Hills and a bit more about how to pray for them and their families. George is the life of the party and the social organizer. Kyle is a life coach going through a transition, Tom and Hank are George’s neighbors (these three have kids the same age that play together and attend the same school), Karl just got back from vacation in Disney World with his family. Almost all of them have two kids. John is Jewish and a retired stockbroker, now entrepreneur and real estate holder.
I got to get some sleep so I’ll end with this: They all knew I was a pastor at our introduction. Eventually one asked what was bringing me to Vernon Hills/Mundelein. I told them about the desire to start a new church. They started to ask some questions. Then one asked why I made the 50 mile trip up for the night. So I told them, “I always make it a point to say yes to any social invitation from an acquaintance who knows I’m a Christian and is still willing to risk what might happen when a pastor is in the midst of their friends.” They laughed and we were on to the next topic.
Eventually, I was able to work in Bill Fay’s 5 questions* with the four guys in an appropriate way and we had a great discussion. Two guys invited me to contact them for more conversation and golf, two others seemed interested in the spiritual side of the discussion. It was a fun time. Pray for these men who are trying to live honorable lives and raise families in a hostile world. Pray too that I might have more opportunity to display the love of Christ to them.
*(I will write about these great questions next week.) See link here.
5 thoughts on “Boys Night Out with Six Residents of Vernon Hills”
Well done, Marty. Honestly, I’d have trouble accepting an invitation to a bar. But that’s where mentoring comes in and that’s where we have to continue to learn and adapt as we go. My determination to not go to a bar limits my outreach in a situation like this. No doubt these are decent folks not bent on a night of rowdy debauchery (which is what I think of when I think of going to a bar, based, unfortunately, on personal experience), but they are simply a few friends getting together for a relaxing conversation.
I love the citizen’s police training involvement to get to know the people, no doubt these are involved, concerned citizens who take action. And to know the police officers. I also love that you could sit and talk with these guys on their turf where they’re most comfortable. Great example and challenging for me personally. Thanks!
This is not the kind of post I usually put up but I thought it might be helpful. The invitation came so late that I wasn’t able to take anyone with me. I did make one invitation to one of the other guys in the mentor group who lived close by, but he was unable to attend with me.
I checked out Buffalo Grove village website and learned that they will have their Citizen’s Academy offered in September. I think I am going to sign up… to get to know the community where I live, more importantly to get to know the people in the community for the opportunity to share the gospel… I like that!
Great stuff. Here’s the one caution I have, be completely there for the purpose of the class. Opportunities will come. Be bold but be a real participant in the class not just a user of it as a means to the end of proclaiming the gospel.
Love it!!! Was having a discussion about this type of real life interaction with someone 2 days ago. Thanks for sharing brother!!!