DIANA DAVIS: Go Ye -- to a yard sale

PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- Nice weather has arrived, and it seems there's a garage sale on every corner. If you're a garage sale fanatic and you're a Christian, here are some tips to turn a garage sale-ing hobby into an effective witness opportunity.

Get ready

-- Go to the bank and get lots of $1 bills. Any purchase provides interaction with the seller.

-- Keep church brochures or business cards in your car or handbag.

Make it more than a yard sale; make it a witness, "Fresh Ideas" author Diana Davis writes.
Photo by Brittany Strebeck
-- Before you leave to go garage sale shopping, ask God to guide your conversations and actions.

-- Include your children. Give them some dollars to garage shop with you. Encourage them to be friendly, helpful and invite kids to church events.

Go garage sale-ing

-- As you approach each garage sale, notice bumper stickers, kids' toys, the lawn, etc. Observation enhances conversation.

-- Speak to the host as you arrive. Pay attention to others around you -- neighbors, strangers, workers and children.

-- Browse the treasures at the garage sale and find at least one item to buy.

-- Be gladly willing to have conversations. Especially if you live nearby, you'll likely have plenty in common.

-- Mention something about your church. If you discover she has no church or relationship with God, invite her to your church or make a plan to talk again. Before you leave, share a church brochure.

-- If you've invited someone to church, share your contact info and say, "If you ever decide to check out a worship service and don't want to go alone, just call or email me."

-- Watch for ways to meet needs. If someone mentions a life crisis, ask if you can pray for that need, offer to assist or share a Christian resource.

-- It may seem easier to leave a witness tract secretly by the cash box, but a neighborly conversation and personal invitation is probably more effective.

Host a garage sale

-- Many of the same ideas above apply for having a garage sale at your home.

-- People from all walks of life will arrive. See each person through God's loving eyes. Pay more attention to people than to your profits.

-- Schedule it prior to big church events, such as Vacation Bible School. Invite guests as you talk.

-- Serve iced or bottled water to guests as a conversation-starter. Put some Christ-centered items in your sale -- a Christian book, CD or cross. Purchase inexpensive Bibles or Gospel of John to give away.

-- Give a printed church invitation. Example: My niece had two big football players helping carry large items at her sale. Each customer received this note: "I'm carrying your burden for you today but Christ carries burdens for all of us. Come hear all about it at _______ (name of your church) next Sunday."

-- Ask God to prompt you to give something away.

Jesus instructed His followers to tell about Him "as you go" (Matthew 28:19-20). So this spring, as you go out for a morning of garage sale-ing, make it more than just a shopping trip.

Double your treasure. Share Jesus as you go.

Diana Davis, online at www.dianadavis.org, is an author, columnist and ministry wife in Pensacola, Fla. She is the author of "Fresh Ideas for Women's Ministry" (B&H Publishing) and "SixSimple Steps - Finding Contentment and Joy as a Ministry Wife" (New Hope Publishers). Her newest book, "Across the Street and Around the World" coauthored with her daughter Autumn Wall, will be released by New Hope this fall.
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