(or When Words are not Enough)
We're learning evangelism has to be more than words. Did Francis of Assisi really say, 'Preach the Gospel always and if you need to, use words'? I hope so. To be authentic, mission has to be grounded in the same mission principles of Jesus. It has to be grace centred, unconditional, no hidden agendas. When mission is authentic, try keeping the name of Jesus down.
Patrick defies definition. There is no one else like him, yet he is one of those individuals that every church needs. He is well known in our market as he scavenges and causes havoc as he chortles, mutters and converses with everyone whether they listen or not.
Patrick is always at the corps/church for breakfast and lunch; not only because they are cheap, but also because we are family to him. He brings to us all his problems and it is a privilege to be able to help and even sometimes fight his battles for him. In response, he brings us lovingly his many trophies from the refuse from the estates that surround us.
There are times when Patrick makes you want to scream; yet I thank God for him and the lessons he has taught us.
What I love most about Patrick is the way our corps/church embraces him as an integral part of everything it does. There is something special about the way people in the corps sit and give respect to someone the world rejects. There is something special in the way parents in the corps trust him to befriend their children.
These relationships give authenticity to God's message of love. Once talking with one of the parents at our daughter's school she said, 'That Patrick, he comes into your church . . . ' 'Uh huh.' I replied carefully. 'I'm glad he has a family in your church, it's good that he has people like you lot.' Then she completely surprised me as she continued. 'When are you services, I'd like to come to a church like yours. Can I come?'
Nice one Patrick!