INDIANAPOLIS – Last year during the Indiana Annual Conference session, a homeless man approached me, so excited because he heard “the Methodists were in town.” He was looking for a “revival,” a place to meet Jesus and encounter the Spirit in the midst of one of the lowest points of his life. When I explained we would have worship later in the evening at the convention center, his face went from hopeful to sad, and I knew without asking that he had imagined this “revival” of United Methodists gathering together to be outside, where he would feel comfortable in his old tattered jeans and tousled hair. I began to offer encouragement that he would be welcomed if he joined us, but he quickly declined, saying he did not think it would be right for him to intrude on our time together. I prayed with him and we parted ways, and I have not been able to forget our encounter.
As I walked back to the convention center, my heart broke for this man – and for us. We missed out on an incredible opportunity to bring the Good News to the people around us. Somehow, in the midst of our planning, we became so inwardly focused on business and workshops and lunches and sessions, that we did not fully focus on how we could spread the message of Christ’s love, hope and peace to the community around us.
So, this year, as we focus on what it means to be an “Outwardly Focused Church,” I am excited to announce that we are going to be praising and worshiping God right in the middle of Georgia Street, Friday, May 30 at 12:30 p.m. There will be no walls, no barriers, no dress code. We will keep things simple and focused on the transforming power of our God and declare with boldness that God is with us everywhere – even and especially on the streets of Indianapolis. The musical group Sixteen Cities (www.sixteencities.com) will lead us in a time of worship that will wrap up with a meaningful time of prayer as we sing “God of This City.”
I hope you will join us for this special opportunity. Invite everyone you know – everyone you meet as you walk through the City while we gather together. I can’t help but smile when I picture all of us joining together to sing, praise, worship and pray in the streets of downtown Indianapolis. Please join me in prayer for this special day.
Helene Foust serves as the Associate Director of Student Ministry for the Indiana Conference, The United Methodist Church.