Outreach FAIL

What I’m about to post is very ironic, considering my last post.  You may conclude I’m a hypocrite…no worries, I often draw the same conclusion.

Like many others this morning, me and the kiddos headed out to explore Cartersville and find a big hill.  Objective: Sledding (and snowball fights and getting wet…and cold).  We found a nice sized hill next to a church where others were already and decided to join in on the fun.  As we approached the group of adults & kids – about 10 of them – a man approached me with this, “Hey man, we are having our own family thing here but you can use that slope right there” (pointing to a smaller hill about 50 yards away).  My first immediate thought was I’ve stepped on to private property and he’s just kindly telling me so.  My second thought – exactly half a second after the first one – was YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME as I surveyed the TON of space and the FEW people utilizing it.

I really wish it was just a property issue.  Unfortunately it’s much worse.

“Oh, I’m sorry, is this your property?” I asked.  He said no and then continued, “But it’s church property and I’m a member.” He then reminded me that they’re just trying to do a “family thing”.  He could tell by my silence and facial expression that the conversation was going downhill – pun intended.  All I could think was BITE YOUR TONGUE SUTTON.  Don’t be stupid.  Let it go.  Just walk away.  Instead, I replied, “You got to be kidding me” as I looked to my right and left as if to say “all this room and you’re going to stake your claim to a hill that doesn’t belong to you?!”

As I turned to walk away and head toward our smaller patch of paridise, one more thing came out.  I’m still discerning if it was of the flesh or of the Spirit (ha).  “Cmon kids, the church people don’t want us here” I said.  I wanted the weight of that to land on this dude.  I wanted him to think I was an unchurched guy and that he had just blown an opportunity.  Most likely though, it didn’t.  He never came over to apologize and they continued with their “family outing”.  It perhaps only gave me an opportunity to try and explain to my kids what I was attempting.

Maybe I’m missing something.  Maybe there’s something within this story I’m not grasping.  But from best I could tell, it’s an outreach fail (and a reaction fail on my part).  I couldn’t help but think about how many of the friends I’m blessed to know at Oak Leaf would have reacted if they had been in this guy’s shoes and a stranger had walked up.  “Hey, cmon over!  Can I help you with your sled?  What’s your name?  We got a table with hot chocolate over there.  Watch out for that big grassy patch.  You live around here?  Go to church anywhere?”

No need in naming the church…and no need in trying to blame them for one of their members being a twerp.

Bonus: Wonder if I should tell the church that this same member later brought out a 4 wheeler that made quite an impression on their landscaping?  🙂

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One Comment on “Outreach FAIL”

  1. Greg Says:

    i don’t think your reaction was a fail. i think sometimes people need a sharp dose of truth in order to jolt them out of their selfishness. just my 2c.

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