This past week, I had the pleasant surprise of seeing and hearing from people I hadn't blessed in months. One stopped to tell me that my prayer for her to be less fearful had worked. She gave me an almond latte with turmeric (weird but delicious) and then asked me to pray for her parents. Another woman told me, "Things still suck, but prayer helps." She had turned her back on the church for years, but after we spoke a few months ago, she'd started praying again. She even told her adult kids about it, regretting that she hadn't raised them in the Christian tradition, but eager to let them know the power of prayer in her life now. These are times when I rejoice with the angels in heaven.
Not too long ago, a woman passing by looked me up and down, rolled her eyes, shook her head, and let out a deep sigh of disgust. Apparently, my taking church outside the church walls - if only by a few feet - was problematic for her. I don't know her history with God or organized religion, but I'm guessing it's complicated and painful. I only wish she knew the praise reports I've started hearing on a regular basis. The answer to bad church is not no church. It's a redeemed experience of church. And for that to happen, sometimes people need church to come to them.