The season finally, the best way to cap off a wonderful experience is with South Carolina beer and a smooth cigar…
That’s right, the last OUT night we frequented The Tobacco Merchant in Irmo SC. We gathered with a tall cold one and a smooth cigar in this local lounge. We met some wonderful folks, even a lay preacher for the Methodist church… We shared stories and ministry experiences, even played a little chess. It was a blessed moment to turn and reflect on all that we had done over the past eight weeks and the weeks of planning this OUT experience.
I had hopes of a deep conversation, stories of hope for the church, prayer with strangers, engage the wounded and broken, break down barriers and break the mold of was a “Pastor” looks like out in the world, and God’s Spirit to move us from places to place. All of these happened in some form or fashion. Did our presences out in these edge communities make a splash, yes… Did people give us weird looks, yes… Was it awkward at times, yes…
However, when one sets a out on a journey one gauges success by either arriving at the intended destination or allowing the journey that brought you to where you are to inform your life… This was successful because I embarked on the journey, this was successful because it informed my calling as a disciple of Christ, this was successful because I opened myself up to the unknown work of the Spirit and surrendered my own expectation of the outcomes. For me this was more about the journey than the destination. Often for people who frequent the bars, the are looking for a destination… but deep down they are longing for a journey with a community who likes / loves them for them… This is where the church ends and the world begins… We have lost our footing in the world as being a community of pilgrims, and we have become a rigid and stoic destination stuck in a time capsule. My guess is, Christ wants us to work more for the journey of faith… than worry about the destination that we will some day arrive at… e.g. the Kingdom!
At the end of the day the biggest breakthrough for me is realizing that I can’t not do this….. I can’t not be out in the community, I can’t ignore the Spirit, I can’t not hurt for those hurt by the Christian community. God has blessed me more than I was a blessing to those in the bars we frequented. The past eight weeks have opened my life up to God’s hand and God’s time… I want to view life more as a journey of faith, seeking continuous breakthrough and Karios, and investing in the other pilgrims who join me in this journey!
Glory be to God. AMEN+