Want to share your faith for a full day in natural conversation and make a few bucks in the process? Okay this may sound like the lead line of a bad informercial on a "all Jesus all the time" Christian television station, but I'm being totally serious.
Yesterday, after 19 years of marriage, we had our first ever garage sale. The night before we stayed up late (my wife and her sister stayed up even later) to price, arrange and prepare for the Saturday "one day only…only" event.
I was up at 6 am on G-Day. The first thing I did was check to make sure the strategically positioned garage signs were still up at the intersections I had placed them at. After that Debbie, my sweet wife, helped me bring out the tables on which she had neatly pre-arranged all of our stuff. We put it all in a big U shape on our driveway and even had different "departments" for all of our junk, er, things formerly known as "essential household items". Of course there were dishes, toys, baby stuff, furniture and the like. But there was also a "tool table" for the guys which became an unexpected testostronic attraction.
After everything was out I sat down with my money box (small bills, loose change), my coffee and my Kindle. I remember praying "God give me a chance to share Jesus with someone today." Little did I know that that little prayer would be answered several times over the next 7 hours.
As more and more people began to come, peruse and buy or fly I found myself in conversation after conversation with person after person about the good news of the gospel. It just kind of came up ("what do you do for a living?" blah, blah, blah…"speaking of that what do you believe about God?") It was natural and fun. By the end of the day I ended up having five or six deep conversations with people about the finished work of Jesus on the cross and it opened the door for my wife and I to have even further conversations with some of our neighbors.
One neighbor is going to read Venti Jesus Please (a little evangelistic book I wrote for teenagers) pass it on to his LDS brother and then bring his brother over so we can talk about it. Another neighbor's little girl really connected with our little girl. We've invited her whole family to come hiking with us at the Rocky Mountain National Park and she is very excited to come with us. I'm sure that more conversations will ensue as we hike and talk about God's wonderful creation.
Thank you God for answering my prayer in such a big, unexpected way! Your prayers to be a more effective witness can be answered as well.
Here's a few reasons why I think you should consider doing a Garage Sale with an evangelism twist:
1. You'll get to know your other neighbors.
These aren't the neighbors across the street or next door but the ones down the block and across the way. Once you get to know them you can engage them in a very natural conversation that can be turned easily toward spiritual subjects. You'll get to meet great people (like we did) and it will lead to more and more relationships. You, like me, will realize that a garage sale is second only to a block party when it comes to getting to know all your neighbors, both near and far.
2. You'll be able to work with your spouse to reach your neighbors for Jesus in a non-threatening way!
It was pretty cool to work together with my wife (aka, "Ms. Relational") in this whole evangelistic process. She has a way of making people feel comfortable. She asks great questions, is a wonderful listener and helps people relax. I (aka, "Mr. Relentless"), on the other hand, love to bring Jesus up. "Hey, look a bird, that reminds me of Jesus….") We both worked our cracked and crowded driveway like it was the space in front of the stage at a Billy Graham Crusade full of people who were still humming "Just as I am." She made them feel comfortable and I introduced them to Jesus. We didn't plan it that way. It just happened.
Hint: Have a stack of evangelistic books, tracks available to pass out to those who are interested (Venti Jesus anyone?)
3. You'll make some money in the process.
Okay, okay when it was all said and done we didn't make all that much. For one I am a horrible negotiator. I am one of those guys who talk myself down before the person has a chance to try. All in all at the end of the day, after the calculations were through the seven hour work day only yielded a couple of hundred dollars profit. But we created a ton of space in our over-crowded house, built a bunch of new relationships and introduced Jesus again and again throughout the day to our new friends.
It was worth the stress and the sunburn!
This article was originally posted on Sept. 20, 2009, on Greg Stier's blog.