I recently started taking lunch-time walks with Micah, my five-year-old. We talk about his day, what we see around us, and occasionally things like "what it means to be a man". But today went differently.
He and I headed out in the beautiful sunshine talking about a recent fight he had with a friend (and the forgiveness we need to offer in our hearts each time we think about it). Then we struck up a conversation with a new neighbor who was outside working on his car.
Ricky was friendly and as we chatted he mentioned he was new to town. That's one of my triggers* and so I handed him an Invite Card. He was interested and we were chatting cheerfully when Elisa, Ameila, and Joel passed by while out on their walk. After a few more words we continued on together.
Now the whole family was heading home so I could get back to work when, at an intersection, we spotted two guys with a dog two blocks to the right (away from home) and Elisa said a fantastic new phrase. It totally reset both our expectations for walks in one sentence. In fact, this phrase could shift where you shop, what restaurants you eat at, and a hundred other little habits towards a lifestyle of sharing Jesus.
Here's what she said: "Let's take the missionary route."
The missionary route is sometimes a little longer and out the way. The missionary route might mean shopping at a more expensive store so you can see that one cashier regularly. The missionary route means adding 5-10 minutes to a segment in your day to stop and ask someone how they're doing.
Today the missionary route meant we added a couple of blocks and headed towards two guys who turned before we caught up with them. And then, sitting at the park we wouldn't have passed otherwise, was a young lady who actually talked to us first: "Isn't the sun gorgeous today?" and the conversation began (and will likely continue because she works at an establishment we go to a LOT)!
So where could you take the missionary route today? Its not the fastest, its not the shortest, and its rarely the most convenient. But pray the Opportunity Prayer** when you set out on your errands, walk, and coffee run today and see if you spot the Missionary Route.
Let's be the kind of people that take the Missionary Route every day.
*Three Triggers For Invitations To Church
1) New to town: "Oh, you probably haven't found a church yet, why don't you come with me to mine?"
2) New baby: "Congratulations! You should come to my church with me - new parents need a whole new support network and my church is great at that!"
3) Any crisis: "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. My church has been a big help when I'm going through hard times - why don't you come with me Sunday?"
**The Opportunity Prayer
God, give me today an opportunity to speak with someone about Jesus; the wisdom to see it; and the courage to take it.