FIRST-PERSON: Who's your Waffle House waitress?

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP) -- You never know who you may run into at a Waffle House.

"What's your name?" I asked our waitress as she gave us our menus. "Misty," she said. We began to talk a little as I ordered a couple of eggs, and then I asked her how I could pray for her.

Our waitress looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, "Unspoken request."

As Misty waited on us throughout the meal, I found out about her life and her church background. She had attended church in the past when she was in school. I talked with her about Jesus and asked her what she thought of Him. Then she said something profound.

"The Jesus I learned about in church seemed to love people a lot more than the church people I encountered."

I told her I appreciated her being honest and agreed with her that Jesus did love people a lot more than we do. In fact, He loved them to even die for them.

I gave her my credit card to pay and encouraged her to give church a try again. I invited her to the church of a friend who lived near the Waffle House. She said, "I work every Sunday morning."

A few minutes later, Misty came back to the table with a startled look on her face. "You're Lee Clamp!" she blurted out. "I just Googled your name. You were my camp pastor at Summersalt youth camp when I was in middle school! That's weird, isn't it? I shouldn't have told you I Googled your name."

I sure was glad I was nice. We finished up our conversation, and I encouraged her to continue to seek the truth of Jesus.

If Misty is going to be discipled and cross over from death to life, it may need to happen at a Waffle House with a group of ladies who decide to meet her there at a time other than Sunday morning.

We will never saturate every life with the Gospel unless the church goes outside the walls. We also must customize our disciple-making strategies. Our current strategy of Sunday morning Bible study at the church may need to be expanded to church-on-location.

Whose name might you have missed this week? Sometimes it's hard to slow down enough to notice people. Maybe you need to go back and start a conversation. Who knows? They may already know you.

Lee Clamp, evangelism group director for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, is online at @leeclamp and www.facebook.com/leeclamp.
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