Last Saturday, I had the good pleasure of meeting my friend Megan in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland on a beautiful summer day for lunch at Red Rock Canyon Grill. After a very long conversation about life, family, and God, we hit the streets of downtown Silver Spring, handing out a large stack of fliers promoting The After Party.
I don’t know if it was the weather, the time of day, or the Silver Spring location, but everyone we came across was very friendly and receptive of the fliers we were handing out. …Well, very receptive of the fliers Megan was handing out. I was having about the same amount of success as my two previous attempts. Where I stumbled on my words, Megan seemed to flourish in her fearlessness at approaching every person she came across. After a while, I simply relied on her to do the approaching, while I assisted her with following up with further questions.
We eventually got into a rhythm… She would approach, hand them the flier with vague description. Then I would follow up with specifics, like how the event was at the Round House Theater just around the corner next to the AFI Silver Theater. We used this system over and over and over again, until it became second nature.
Next to Megan, I became less confident in my ability to approach the strangers that we passed. Whereas, Megan’s confidence issue involved answering the questions these strangers had about The After Party. When people had questions, Megan looked to me to answer them. I was very confident in that role, so we ended up making the perfect team — each with a part to play.
We had a few notable encounters…
Megan was so bold in her approaches, that she often went up to cars stopped at stop lights to hand out fliers. She often went to typical “cool” guys in their “cool” cars, who would feel proud of the fact that an attractive girl took interest in them. When these guys reciprocated interest and looked to extend the encounter or invite Megan to stay with them, I would always step in and give them a wave and a smile and make it clear that the two of us were together.
That was also the case when she approached groups of guys on the street. One group wanted her to join them for lunch, so I had to turn around and make my presence known.
As we cruised up and down the streets of downtown Silver Spring, we also ran into a Christian woman, who was looking for a local church. We told her about the Frontline campus in Silver Spring, and she said she looked forward to checking it out.
One of the worst/best interactions came near one of the parking garages. We handed a flier to an older guy (in his 40s), who asked us if he should bring his wife. We said yes, slightly puzzled why he would think otherwise. He then inquired more, finally admitting he thought this was some sort of “swingers” event. I don’t think Megan understood what he meant, until we talked about it much later.
Finally, my favorite moment of the day came when Megan approached an older woman (seriously, Megan was approaching people way outside the typical Frontline audience). The older woman asked us specifically what the event was about. We told her it was a church event, discussing what happens after you die. She pressed us further, asking us what we thought happened when we die. Megan looked to me to give an answer, so I went straight into the 1-minute gospel message. This wasn’t hard, because I had just produced a video, which explained the Gospel in a nutshell.
I told the woman that I believe there is a God and a place called Heaven. But this Heaven requires absolute perfection to enter. Since we — the three of us — aren’t perfect, there’s no way we could get into Heaven, unless something outside of us interceded. Thankfully, God loved us so much that He sent his Son, Jesus, to come to Earth, live a perfect life, then die on a cross to pay for all of our mistakes (since the penalty for sin/mistakes is death). Once Jesus did that — died, paid for our sins, then rose again — anyone who has faith in that sacrifice for salvation will be seen as perfect in the eyes of God. And thus, will be admitted into Heaven.
I didn’t say all of that, but rather boiled it down to… I believe there’s a Heaven, but you have to be perfect to get in. Since none of us are perfect, we wouldn’t be able to get in. But thankfully, God sent his son Jesus to die and pay for our sins, so that we can get into Heaven. (You see, the woman never stopped walking, so I had to tell her this in the span of one block.)
When I was through summarizing the Gospel, the woman stopped, turned to us, and said, “That is the best summary of the Gospel I’ve ever heard. Short and to the point.” I thanked her, and she was on her way.
Megan thought that it was a wonderful compliment, and I was certainly glad to have received it.
After handing out fliers for about 3 hours, we finally gave out the very last flier in my stack. It was 6:30 PM, and we were beat. We sat on a sidewalk bench for a while, reflecting on the successes of the day. We then talked about other ways we could work together on other ministry projects. I was very happy to have finally found someone who I could partner with in ministry.