I found myself walking the streets last Christmas. I took the decision to use some time I had free from other Pastor-stuff like putting services and talks together, to deliver flyers. We hand-post a few thousand around the Portswood/inner avenue area and usually the different house groups in the Church divi up the streets and get out putting leaflets through doors. (A house group is just a bunch of people meeting in a small group to pray, talk about a bit of the Bible and support each other in their faith.)
It’s a task that’s fun in the Spring or Summer, but at Christmas when it’s cold and everyone’s mega-busy it’s not so great. We’ve tried ‘pepping it up’ with Carol singing in the past but that wasn’t working either. So some of the groups figured that it would be better to club together to pay people to deliver our leaflets. This would help them out with a bit of extra cash and save us some hassle. For one reason or another our group didn’t go for that so we ended up with a dozen streets to deliver so thought I’d walk the streets and put flyers through doors. Well, everyone else was mega-busy and then there’s the weather.
It was cold, damp, and not a lot of fun. Letterboxes are tricky, dogs are frightening – even when they’re behind a front-door - and it took a while to figure out how to work three-handed! You sometimes need three hands on this task; one to hold the leaflets, and then another two to push the super-sprung letter box and hold it open as you manipulate the leaflet through it. All of this had quite an effect upon me. To start with, my respect for postal workers is now at an all-time high.
But that’s not all. As I walked I found myself thinking about the streets, and the people that live there. I met a few people who were on the whole quite pleased to see me – I tried to be human about it and they responded to that. I started to find myself praying for the area I walked, I became a bit preoccupied with one prayer that at least one person would come to the Carol Service through the leaflet. I remembered what it’s easy to forget; we’re a Christian community that’s connected to a particular location. We can shine there and that’s always better done by people walking the streets than just with leaflets. These can be leaflets delivered by people in community with a prayer, a smile, a greeting – with love.
That’s why in a week or so we’re going to spend some of our usual Sunday morning service time by together going and delivering our Easter leaflets. And taking this approach is older than Easter itself. On at least two occasions Jesus sent his disciples out to bless people in the communities he was heading for. They were told to speak words, and do actions that showed that God’s Kingdom was close – God was near. We’re doing something like that. Our words are on a card, unless someone wants to talk, and we’ll be praying God’s blessing on the community as we go. Maybe see you then.
If and when we’re given prayers to ask on our way – we’ll not be wanting to hold back. One of the many visitors who came to the Carol service last Christmas told us he was from one of the streets I walked. He came simply because he got a leaflet through his door.
John Ayrton (Pastor)