This issue of thESource is all about missions.  When I was growing up, which I’d like to think wasn’t all that long ago, “missions” meant going over the ocean and preaching the gospel to the “natives” who lived in exotic places like China, Africa, New Guinea, and Japan. In those days, “natives” weren’t very civilized, spoke totally different languages, worshiped idols, and knew nothing about Jesus.

You know, there are still a lot of people who think that “missions” means leaving this country and going “over there” somewhere.  But that’s simply not true any more.  We didn’t necessarily get to everyone in the mission fields the old way, namely sending missionaries to foreign lands, so God brought the mission field to us.

When I go to my local grocery store, the whole world is walking up and down the aisles. I can be in the store for 15 minutes and never hear English.  My local grocery store sits in the middle of a part of St. Louis that includes four universities and a seminary.  If you listen, you will hear Japanese, Chinese, Bosnian, Greek, French, Korean, any number of English dialects from Australia, England, New Zealand and American, and all kinds of other languages which I cannot identify.  There in the middle of the peanut butter and jelly is the whole world with which Jesus wanted us to share His love.

There isn’t much online or in books about grocery store evangelism.  But, it doesn’t take a lot to figure out how we could be missionaries without ever buying a plane ticket.  Be friendly.  Be courteous.  Smile.  If you have the opportunity, share a friendly greeting.  Wear a cross or other symbol of your faith.  Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to invite a person to youth group or a potluck.  Be patient.  Offer your help if someone feels lost.  When you part, wish them God’s blessing.  You never know how the Holy Spirit might work through you to bring the Gospel to the world – right there in your grocery store.

Published December 2004