In Ten Seconds
by Carlos Ingles
There are many food pantries in Houston, including one less than a mile from Impact. But as we tell the hundreds of people who come to our Resource Center, we don’t want them to leave with just food, we want them to leave with a word of encouragement and spiritual reflection. I am sure that the Spirit of God is moving through the interactions that we have with the people, and we have had many Spanish-speaking visitors to the church as a result.
We as a church have a great responsibility to raise our quality of service to people. We want people to see Jesus in us, and for each person who passes through our doors to feel important. In fact I have a phrase that works as an ice-breaker: I ask them: are you VIPs? They look at me strangely and some say they are not VIPs. With a smile I correct them and tell them, you are VIPs because each person who comes here is a VIP for God and us. Then we take groups of 15 people for a short lesson, and to respect their time I use a 10-minute timer on my phone.
We had been having the lessons inside our building (as well as registering them, offering them access to social workers, and other things), but for the summer we have had to pause these things because of the many summer youth programs. So now there is only the opportunity to talk to them while they sit in the food line in their cars, and there is not much time to interact.
Trying to be creative in how to break the ice with people I don’t know, I approach their cars and tell them: Hi, good afternoon, in 10 seconds what can I tell you? They look at me surprised. I look them straight in the eyes and tell them: I know what I can tell you; What I can tell you is that God is looking for you, and he has been looking for you for a long time in many ways. I have seen how some are moved by this short sentence. And then I explain to them that we are a church and that we are interested in being able to serve them to bring them closer to God. Yes, there are many places that give food, but Impact is not just another place. We are a church, and we exist in order to bring people closer to God with everything we do, sometimes with only a short phrase that lasts 10 seconds.