Silver Sneakers Ministry
A few months back I was looking for a way to get a guy from my discipleship group into an evangelistic conversation. I took him to the mall to see if there might be someone hanging out in the food court that we could engage for his training. When we walked in, we immediately ran into several senior adult members of our church. They were glad to see me, excitedly talked about how they come to this particular mall every day to walk. These men and women are, for the most part, all in the same community group. Their pattern is consistent. Together they walk laps around the mall, they share in fellowship, they pray for people, and build relationships for the gospel. They have been doing this for years and have met and shared Jesus with many people. As I listened, I began to get really excited. This was a movement. This had vision. These saints had a passion for what they were doing and felt called to it by God for his kingdom. It was literally a silver sneakers ministry at the mall. My mind immediately goes to Romans 10:15
"And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!""
One of the sweet ladies who has been using this method for disciple making introduced me to a younger man whom she had been ministering to over the course of time. That connection was the gospel conversation my friend needed for his discipleship training that day.
But here's the reason I share that story. These senior adults should inspire us. They have simply taken an everyday hobby and turned it into ministry. Disciple making is really that simple. Intentionality and prayerful engagement through everyday encounters. I don't know about you, but statewide quarantine has led to an incredible amount of walkers, joggers, and bike riders in my neighborhood over the past few months. My guess is that has been a consistent trend in communities and parks around the city. The weather is nice and people are looking for things to do. In the spirit of these seniors, what would it look like to engage increased walking and exercise for disciple making? What would it look like to turn everyday walking into ministry in your neighborhood or a local park?
One of the best ways to connect with people is to join with them in what they are consistently doing. Plugging into their hobbies and common interests is a way to engage. A common interest becomes a bridge to relationship, which becomes a door for the gospel. Maybe you see someone who is walking and you ask if they mind you joining them. Maybe you share on your neighborhood Facebook page that you are going to walk at a certain time and invite anyone who would like to walk with you to come along. Maybe there are specific people that you want to shoot a message and arrange for a walking partner. Obviously, there are more hobbies than walking. Pray and pay attention to what people are doing in your community.
This is something you could do with someone while abiding by social distancing rules. One person could walk on the street and one person could walk on the sidewalk. The key is being intentional with your conversation. Listen well, and ask a lot of questions. Usually just talking about current events or asking them how you can pray for them will give you clues about brokenness in their life that you can minister to. Consider talking to them about their story on one walk and the next walk share your testimony. Consider discussing your soap journal with them or the sermon your pastor preached that week. Consider utilizing 3 Circles evangelism tool, just focusing on one circle per walk building, the good news with each conversation. There are opportunities to make disciples all around us. I challenge you to ask God to show you how to turn something a lot of people are doing around you into ministry.
They have simply taken an everyday hobby and turned it into ministry. Disciple making is really that simple.
Grace & Peace, Scott
Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash