When we first started trying to take steps of courage on the streets as a church, we often used a tool called treasure hunting. I found this method particularly helpful as it gave you a reason to actually approach someone rather than having to start a conversation cold.
I really wrestled with fear when it came to starting a conversation with a stranger!
The basic premise of treasure hunting involves each person creating a treasure map with different clues from God under a variety of headings:
Location - Where you might find the person God wants you to speak to
Name - What the person's name might be or the name of someone they know
Appearance - What the person might be wearing or carrying. Clues to identify who God wants you to speak to
Ailment - Something the person might want prayer for: sickness/relationship issues etc
Unusual - Anything that doesn't fit under the other 4 headings.
The key lesson we learnt was to not take too much time asking God for clues. Usually the first thoughts that passed through your mind were the ones to note down, no matter how ridiculous they seemed. Then we would go out in pairs or 3's looking for our treasure; the people God had planned in advance that we would meet and who He wanted to bless.
I have SO many stories of clues coming together and leading to amazing encounters. The one I've shared below is one of my favourites. I was with a team in Dublin and God led us to treasure at a local zoo! Enjoy.
Elephant, Yellow and Right Ankle - October 2008
You might think that getting the clue elephant is a little bit bizarre and you'd be right. As it turned out my team was going to a massive park not far from the Vincents' house that actually had a zoo in it! No points for guessing where we were headed.
When we got to the entrance of the zoo we were met by a guy dressed in an elephant costume. Was this our treasure already? After we'd stopped laughing about the hysterical situation we spoke to the guy in the suit, but none of our clues seemed to make sense to him. We decided to make our way to the elephant enclosure.
When we got to the narrow path that overlooked the elephants we saw two ladies who both had bright yellow jackets on. We decided to go after one of them who was just leaving, but when we caught up with her none of the other clues seemed to make sense.
When we got back to the elephants the other lady was still there so we approached her to tell her what we were doing. As we talked through our list of clues she told us that she had a bad right ankle. She'd broken it in April and it had never fully recovered. She'd still got pain and it was uncomfortable as we were speaking. We offered to pray for her, which she was up for, so we asked God to come and heal her ankle. The presence of God came in such an intimate way and when we'd finished praying the lady's ankle felt comfortable.
We spent a bit more time chatting to the lady who was very obviously moved by the whole experience. She had encountered God and it had done something in her heart. We found out later that the lady's husband, who was somewhere else in the zoo, had called his wife earlier in the day and encouraged her to come and look at the elephants. How perfect is God's timing? The way God orchestrates these encounters is incredible!
Wendy Mann Equip | www.wendymannequip.com
Building Family, Prioritising God's Presence, Extending God’s Kingdom