"Welcome to Burger Time, this is Matt. What can I get for you?"
"We'll have a junior cheese burger minus tomato and mayonnaise, a junior burger with just lettuce, mustard, and lots of pickles, a junior burger with cheese and jalapenos, one large fry, one large Dr. Pepper and two small Dr. Peppers."
"That will be six dollars and twenty-five cents and we'll have it hot and fresh for you at the window."
This scene is repeated more times with my family than I would like to admit. Yet, those who work at Burger Time are more than just people who offer me a service, they are my friends. Because I find myself craving an ice-cold Dr. Pepper about 11:30 a.m. each day, I visit Burger Time quite often. Through the years, and the drive-thru window, I have come to know Chris, Wendy, Craig, and Mandy. More recently, I am getting to know Matt who was just hired. Along with asking for a Dr. Pepper or a hamburger, I've also asked when Mandy's baby is due, how many kids Wendy has, and how long Chris has managed the store. As a professional photographer, I've had Wendy, Mandy, and all their kids over to my house where I have taken their pictures … at no charge. This summer, I'm taking Wendy's two kids to swimming lessons because their daycare provider can't do it. I've shared with them my involvement in small group ministry and my faith in God by simply giving God the credit for the blessings in my life.
I enjoy showing these friends God's love, yet I discovered the other day that my ministry doesn't stop there. With my two oldest daughters in the car, ages 14 and 12, I looked in my rear view mirror and said, "Let's pay for the guy behind us too."I handed my 12-year-old daughter some money because we were in the lane where her side of the car was near the drive-thru window.
"That will be six dollars and twenty-five cents."
"I also want to pay for the guy behind us."
"Just add his order to ours."
"Okay. Should I give him the change or do you want the change?"
"We'll take the change."
"That was so cool! I want to do it again next time. Did you see Matt's face? I love doing stuff like this for people!"
My daughter's enthusiasm and the growth spurt of evangelism I witnessed in her heart revealed to me that outreach affects my home as well as the world. This month, consider gathering your small group together with their families for a day of outreach. Offer several options and let each family choose.
Consider these ideas:
- Pick up garbage in a neighborhood or at a strip mall.
- Hand out cold pop in a park or to construction workers.
- Clean public restrooms.
- Wash windshields at the mall.
These ideas and many more can be found in Steve Sjogren's books 101 Ways to Help People in Need and 101 Ways to Reach Your Community. After a couple of hours, meet at someone's home or at a park for a BBQ. Take some time to let the children share what they thought about the outreach projects in which they participated. Challenge your small group to continue reaching out to others with their family throughout the summer. Encourage them with the words of Proverbs 22:6 from the Message, "Point your kids in the right direction—when they're old they won't be lost."