After Party: Ballston

On Friday, I spent the late afternoon (from 5-7 PM) handing out fliers to The After Party all around the Ballston area in Arlington, Virginia. When I arrived at the Ballston metro stop, I quickly found three other Frontliners with stacks of cards to hand out. After some swift instructions from the location leader and a quick prayer, we all split up and handed out the cards however we saw fit.

A fourth guy showed up, so I gave him half of my card stack. I didn’t really see any of the guys after that. Since they seemed to be staying close to the Metro, I decided to hit the streets.

I found that walking down the streets and handing cards to the individuals I passed had a better reception rate than handing cards out to the clusters gathered at the Metro. I believe this is because when people think you’re genuinely interested in them as individuals, they are much more likely to be open with you. (This actually helps prove a hypothesis I have about the drawbacks of “mass” communication, but I’ll save that for another blog post.)

I wasn’t familiar with walking the Ballston streets, but I just kept going — and when I felt lost, I just asked people how to get to the Metro.

Because I had plenty of time between “sets,” I was able to completely reset after each attempted interaction. I had time to analyze the successful attempts and overcome the unsuccessful ones.

Other than people taking the cards and thanking me, I had several notable interactions. I talked with one girl, who inquired about the organization behind The After Party. I used my typical opener, “I’d like to invite you to an event my church is having this weekend.” Her response was, “That depends on what kind of church it is.” I told her it was a nondenominational Protestant church in McLean. She was unfamiliar with McLean Bible Church, but did say she was skeptical of nondenominational churches in general. “Some of them can be pretty crazy,” she said, then admitted that she had recently moved to the area and was looking for a Baptist church in Arlington. I assured her MBC taught sound doctrine and invited her to check out Frontline Arlington. In retrospect, I probably should have suggested she check out Cherrydale Baptist as well.

I found one young Asian man sitting on a bench under a tree and handed him a card. He took it, even though he said he already received one at the West Falls Church metro (yep, we had a team over there, too).

Another Asian student I came across was very friendly and receptive of the card. Not to be stereotypical, but I don’t recall any Asians refusing the card.

After a while, I started focusing on people who looked unfriendly. I never approached anyone who was talking on their phone or had earphones in. But there were some very serious-looking, no-nonsense people who I made an effort to approach. Unfortunately, true to their appearance, they almost always refused the card.

Eventually, I only approached young women — using some of the old pickup skills within my social arsenal.

One particular situation involved me standing back, waiting at an intersection. I waited for an attractive girl to pass by and make solid eye contact. When one finally did, I gave her a smile. She smiled shyly, dropped eye contact, then reestablished eye contact before passing by completely. I waited. After about a minute, I hurried to catch up with her. She was two blocks down the street before I finally caught up with her. I ran the last few steps toward her — to feign being out of breath. I called to her, then said I really wanted to invite her to this event my church was having. She was visibly pleased that I had stopped her, but then quite confused that all I wanted was to hand her a flier. I back-stepped away with a smile, said I hoped to see her there, and left her with an experience to ponder for the rest of the day.

That was probably my favorite experience of the day. In a past life, I probably would have asked the girl out right then and there. But these days, I’m more interested in introducing women to Christ. I guess you could say I’m Jesus’ wingman.

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