Outreach on the Streets of Nashville

Last week, we had our first AIM mission trip here in Nashville. The group was a college-age group from Virginia (mostly James Madison University students). At the beginning of the trip, I explained to the group that they were going to be challenged to grow in new ones, as we introduced them to situations where they were forced to rely on God.
Nashville Mission Trip - TuesdayOne of my favorite moments (there were plenty to choose from) was early on in the trip when the group got together after supper and prayed together, asking God for direction.
As images of orange cones and stoplights and neon signs popped into their heads, we decided to hit the streets and do a night-time outreach. We didn’t have a prepackaged ministry agenda or much of a plan, just what God had told us through prayer.
So, we started walking.
After passing a streetlight, some orange cones and coming across  several other signs that had all come to the group through prayer, we figured that we were on to something. The group stopped in front of the Hard Rock Cafe on Broadway and Second (several of them saw a picture of this restaurant as they were praying).
As we approached the steps where we were going to set up, Emily stopped me and said, “I saw this exact scene in my mind when we were praying.”
Jeremy started playing his guitar, with a few others joining in to sing some worship tunes, as hundreds of people passed by, on their way to or from a bar (there isn’t much else on Broadway). We set out a tip jar, but when a man approached to drop a few dollar bills, we corrected him: “No, sir, that jar is only for prayer requests. We can’t accept your money, but we’d love t pray for you.” His eyes got really large, but then he smiled and wrote down a request, dropping it into the bucket.
Nashville Mission Trip - Tuesday 2This continued for about an hour — prayer requests, worship songs, and ice cream (yes, ice cream). It was more like a party than an evangelistic outreach. Relationships were made, fun was had, and the Holy Spirit moved on a street corner in downtown Nashville.
Matt spoke with a homeless man. Amy took pictures. Phil offered to pray for people.
The group returned to the church, singing worship songs the whole way. When we debriefed the experience, they were all amazed, as they recounted how nearly everything that they had heard or seen in prayer actually came true that evening. It was just the beginning of an amazing week full of moments where God’s presence clearly intersected with reality in a noticeable way.
Photos courtesy of Amy Gwaltney, one of the trip’s team members. See more here.