A local Christian radio station held a telethon. Good News Now the news website I manage advertised with them, so I volunteered to help man the phone lines as a good will gesture. I had in mind a story I wanted to write about the station and the work they did and I was looking for an angle.
Never having done anything like a telethon before, I put my reporter hat on waiting for a story to appear. I found one that day that I never expected. I listened to a conversation and learned a lesson about Women’s Ministry outreach from someone whom I consider an expert. I found myself seated with two other women, as I got situated in a back room and received the easy to follow instructions on how to handle the phone and take pledges. Most of the calls went to the front room phones allowing the three of us to talk. Somehow the conversation turned to talk about our churches when a lady name Edwina began to share.
After spending years involved with a very large church in North Dallas she and her husband moved to the small town of Lone Oak Texas. There she sunk her roots into a small country church which she described as very dear. Edwina spoke with purpose and insight as she told the story about an outreach event they recently experienced. I sensed she wasn’t a stranger to outreach and gave her my full attention as our phone lines remained silent.
It was a simple formula, one the ladies could easily embrace. Each woman was asked to show up at church on the designated Saturday with a few nut bread loafs, the small ones that are so invitingly wrapped in plastic wrap and tied with a ribbon. Edwina divided the ladies up in small groups and sent them out into the country side to the surrounding neighbors just like Jesus sent out his disciples. They were instructed to distribute the small gifts and say, “we are from the church down the road, we wanted to say hello and give you this nut bread.” There were no other rehearsed lines.
What the ladies discovered and what Edwina already knew and wanted to show them was that Jesus had divine appointments for them. They discovered that:
God could use them if they were willing, even if they didn’t know how.
There was a need that could be met by the church extending a friendly invitation.
There was a next step they needed to discover.
The results of the visitations were:
They discovered they enjoyed reaching out and wanted to do more
People wanted to know someone cared
There were unchurched people close to the church who accepted the invitation to attend worship.
I was inspired and discovered the woman I was speaking to was Edwina Patterson a published author, public speaker and expert on outreach and women who at that time hosted a daily devotional time on air through the station. She is the real thing; a woman who lives out her call.