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"Into the World" by Pastor Larry Hancock

I have been blessed to take part in a wide array of ministries during my 30+ years as a Christian.  Nothing has ever come close to impacting my life as much as our Sidewalk Sunday School and weekly Prayer Walk.  We are in our 4th year of walking the streets of Kershaw every Wednesday evening.  It’s hard to believe we have only missed 4 nights due to weather in the past 3 years.  Sometimes we walk, pray, and don’t talk to single a person.  Other times we have the opportunity to pray for one or several people in a single night.  We have witnessed healing, salvation, divine connections, and the list goes on.  Even the very spot that we do our weekly SSS on came as a result of walking the neighborhood.                                                                                                       

It’s been two years since we began our Sidewalk Sunday School.  Not only has the number of kids grown, but each one of the dedicated leaders has grown in so many ways.  It seems a little odd that some of the very things that make this ministry so difficult can also be the things that make it so rewarding.  To watch a child walk back into a home where there seems to be no love, no attention, and sometimes little provision can rip your heart right out of your chest.  It leaves you with a sinking helpless feeling.  But to know that during the hour or two that you were with them, you loved them, put a smile on their face, made them feel special in some way; you only wish you could do it more often.  One thing that every staff member can agree on is that when you spend time pouring into the kids, their faces become etched in your mind.  You really can’t help but pray for them, because when you close your eyes you can still see those precious faces looking back at you.

There’s no glamour in Street Ministry.  There are no offerings or paychecks either.  Sometimes it feels really nice, but often it is very uncomfortable.  It’s challenging to realize every time you stand before a child, it could very well be your last opportunity to share anything with them, so you better get it right the first time.  I finally realized that the wealth of the church was on the other side of those four walls that we so often hide behind and call ourselves holy.  There is no shortage of lost and lonely people in any town, or neighborhood.  

Sidewalk Sunday School is just one tool to help reach people.  There’s no perfect formula outside the church any more than there is inside.  It all comes down to loving God, and loving people.  If you really love them, I don’t think you can be content sitting around waiting for them to bust through the church doors looking for that hope that you say you have in you.  I am on my 12th year as Pastor of the church that I have been in for 32 years.  Since we stepped over the threshold, went beyond the walls, moved out of the comfort zone, sought after the people that were never going to seek after us; we have ministered to more people, witnessed more healings, and saw more people saved than we have ever seen in the same time period inside the church.  

Leonardo da Vinci once said:  “Once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return.” 

I think I know now what that feels like.  Every time I walk back inside, I find myself longing to walk another street, pray under another shade tree, teach another SSS lesson, find somebody that needs Jesus.

Pastor Larry






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