September 1, 2008
Mowing the lawn and walking the dog do not seem like prime ministry activities, but I think Adria and I meet more people in our neighborhood by doing these two things than just about anything else we do. Being of a different culture is sometimes like flipping a coin. The coin could land on the side of disadvantage, or it could land on the other side, the side of advantage. In inner-city ministry we definitely experience both sides of the coin. Yet, one of the advantages of being different in any situation is that often people listen to you. They know you are different and so they think that you just might have an answer to their question that is different from what they normally would hear. And sometimes the obvious difference just sparks questions of curiosity that can lead to discussions about our purpose here in the city.
While doing the seemingly mundane we have: had kids come to reconcile relationships after they had a bad day at club; stepped in as mediator when a kid we knew was accused of vandalism; been pointed out as “those white people in our neighborhood” only to have a good conversation about improving the neighborhood; talked about the importance of being part of a church; become acquainted with the local drug dealer, been informed of the history of Dietrich Bonhoffer, fixed numerous bike chains for neighbor kids, listened to a young man wanting to make better life choices, and walked side-by-side with the children we are building relationships with as they clamor for a chance to walk the dog.
When I plan to mow our lawn I plan to mow the lawn, but it is amazing to see how many times God plans for a simple chore to be a meaningful ministry opportunity. We did not inherit my brother’s dog with the intention of meeting people, but God planned him to be a part-time catalyst for relationship building. So often I honestly do not know where to begin to answer their questions or how to help them with their problems. But, this is where my relationship with Christ comes in.
Many people in our community know Adria and I. Some know that we work for World Impact, many know that we are Christians, but all of them know that we are different. In this case our difference can be a huge advantage as we strive to draw their questions toward the only true answer, Jesus Christ. Please pray for us as we continue to mow our lawn and walk our dog, seemingly run of the mill activities, but which in actuality God makes into ministry opportunities. Pray that we will have the wisdom to meet our neighbors with words of hope and healing. Pray that our conversations will turn into long-lasting relationships that lead to salvation through Jesus. It is such an honor to serve Christ in the inner city of St. Louis and to have each of you on our team!
All for our King, Andrew & Adria Medlen