Servant Evangelism

Starbucks Servant Evangelism
I just got some cool $5 Starbucks cards. For an extra .25, they imprinted the card carriers with:

This is a practical way to show God’s love.
We think most people have heard that God loves them but very few have seen that love in practical ways.
We’re out to change that.
The Vineyard Church of Waterville |
Let us know if we can be of any assistance.
And enjoy the coffee!

Today in the parking lot outside our local movie rental place, I saw a young couple with a very tiny baby. Inspired by something my wife had done in a similar situation, I went up to the dad with two cards in my hand. I said, “I noticed you have a young child and I bet it’s hard to get out on dates.”

Young Dad: “Uh-huh.”

Me: “Do you guys like Starbucks?”

YD: “Ah…yeah.”

Me: “Here are two cards, each worth $5.”

He was incredibly thankful.

And I got to leave with an incredible sense of being filled with God’s love.

It’s so true: you can’t outgive God.

So cool!!!

False news reports about me

I got into work today to be greeted by an email from a co-worker. “Marc, you’re getting slammed on the radio this morning”!

Apparently the folks at Mix 107.9 saw the Wikipedia article on Waterville, ME. In it, the most exciting economic development initiative in town, The Hathaway Creative Center, is called a scam.

My coworker heard them say I’d made that comment, that I was the pastor of the Vineyard Church, and that I worked at Inland.

Here’s the background. A couple months ago, one of Inland’s new physicians told me that they came here despite the Waterville article on Wikipedia. When I went to it, it was awful. It was like an extended online reader’s comment at the bottom of a Morning Sentinel article. The writer ranted about how awful this place was, how economically depressed our downtown is, and how inept Waterville was at getting anything positive started.

Obviously I took issue with that. Waterville is a great place to live and has some great things happening in it. Worse, the article didn’t follow the Wikipedia guidelines of being a reference work with lots of references. There were none.

So I added some references to good stories in the Morning Sentinel and added some positive things happening: Waterville Main Street, the Waterville Public Library, Soup to Nuts Coffee House, and KVConnect. (You can compare what I found on the site to the changes I made: right here.)

After that, someone went in and added a ton of information: demographics, pictures, lots of stuff. Apparently they also added that the Hathaway Center was a scam.

I didn’t see that when I went in on December 4 to update the transportation. (Only the airport was listed so I added I-95 and the intermodal transfer station we have.)

But I got blamed with the negative information in the article. Ironic isn’t it? And not only blamed but blamed on air.

What a way to start the morning! *sigh*

I’m concerned for lots of reasons:

  • My friends and colleagues–the leaders in the community–are working really hard to make this a great place, now I appear to be slamming their work.
  • There are enough pastors negative about life in general. I’m an optimist but I’m being painted with the brush of the others.
  • Inland’s name was included. One of our core commitments is to the economic development of our communities. This makes it look like one of their most in-the-community people doesn’t buy it.

What’s shocking is that a minor edit I made on Wikipedia can be misconstrued by a local radio station. I guess I still haven’t come to grips with the ramifications of the interconnectedness of Web 2.0.

[12/13 Things are MUCH better. No one I spoke with listened to this station any way. The station apologized Tuesday. And I got to go on for an Inland related thing on Thursday a.m. I was on air with them for about 45 minutes. It’s really turned out to be a good thing!]

No Church Too Small

Just getting back from our third annual hot chocolate servant evangelism give away!

We get to Wal-mart around 4 a.m. and pass out 300 free hot chocolates in less than 1 hour.

Today, Izzie said, “This proves no church can say they’re too small to do servant evangelism!” Our church of less than 30 people has now officially reached 2311 people since January 1 with individual, practical demonstrations of God’s love.

The first year we did this, people were weirded out by us. Suspicious. Sort of, “Yeah, it’s ‘free.’ Right. What’s the catch?”

The second year, we were told, “We look forward to your hot chocolate every year!” We’d become a tradition in just one year!

This year, Paul noticed how nice people were. They were really open to receiving a free hot drink and kept asking who we were.

I just love being able to start people’s Christmas season with kindness before starting it with consumerism!

Pam brought her video camera this year so hopefully we’ll get to post a video of Janice, Izzie, Paul, Caren and me having a blast. It was icy in the parking lot so we pantomimed a faux-Icecapades.

Haven’t you heard of “Vineyard on Ice”? ๐Ÿ™‚