Peanut Butter and Jelly Missionaries

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

Published December 1, 2004

About the author

As the Director of LCMS Youth Ministry, Terry Dittmer seeks to advocate for young people and to empower young people to be God’s people in the world and to empower people to “confess” their faith in celebratory and expressive ways. Terry and his wife, Cherie, have five adult children.
View more from Terry

Related Resources

The Habits That We Make: Parents

The Habits That We Make: Parents

We all have harmful habits, even in our churches. This article helps us think about how we might have habits where parents are not growing in their own Biblical education or even expecting the church and its workers to be the primary teachers of the Christian faith for their children. By identifying these kinds of habits, we can see how we might change them.

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Change or Experience?

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Change or Experience?

As youth workers, we need to remember that this cohort that experienced the COVID pandemic during their younger years experienced it differently than adults. Through research, Dr. Tina Berg has been able to identify key learnings that can help us care for young people, particularly confirmands, in the wake of the pandemic.

The Habits That We Make – Isolation

The Habits That We Make – Isolation

We all have habits, some intentionally developed and others not. Knowing our habits in ministry can be important. For example, we may tend to isolate kids and/or youth from the rest of the congregation. This article talks about how to identify this habit and push against it.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How do I know if our youth ministry program is healthy and properly caring for our teens?

Discover how you can enhance your youth ministry and serve the youth in your church with Seven Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry.

Share This