FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)-When Members of Travis Avenue Baptist Church arrived at church July 1, 10,000 bouquets of flowers were awaiting them.
The flowers had been destined for a local supermarket the Friday before, but the manager felt the temperature in the delivery trailer was inadequate and refused to accept the shipment.
Daymark Trucking Company had a full-bloomed problem on its hands. Rather than let the flowers go to waste, the company asked the Fort Worth, Texas, church if it would accept the shipment as a donation. Travis Avenue agreed and the flowers were left in a refrigerated trailer at the church until Sunday.
Members were asked to take as many flowers as they wanted and distribute them to whomever they wanted with the message that the flowers were a gift from the church. As the flowers went out to neighbors, nursing homes, area businesses, hospitals and other locations, happy responses from those who received the bouquets began to come back to the church.
One woman recounted that a neighbor who received flowers “smiled for the first time in the 10 years I have known her.” The flowers gave another member a chance to talk with neighbors, creating the possibility of future witnessing opportunities. “They now wave and smile at me,” he said.
The joy spread as far as Tulsa, Okla., for a church’s 40th anniversary celebration, according to an e-mail message from the woman who took the flowers to the church.
The joy was not confined to those who received the flowers.
“There was such an atmosphere of excitement the day that the truckload of flowers came in to the church,” said Cliff Lea, minister of missions mobilization at Travis Avenue. “People seemed genuinely thrilled for the opportunity to be able to give these flowers away in the name of Jesus.”
Although the giving of flowers was an unexpected way for Travis Avenue to spread God’s love, it is not unusual for the church, which has been focusing on servant evangelism efforts to reach people in the community.
Travis Avenue has been building various facets of its outreach strategy on the model of Steve Sjogren, author of “Conspiracy of Kindness,” who advocates the use of random acts of kindness to “demonstrate the love of Christ in a practical way.”
Members distributed about 1,000 copies of the “Jesus” video to the community in March and conducted a special “Cinco De Mayo” celebration for the many Hispanic families in the neighborhood in May.
In June, the church launched a neighborhood blitz to meet as many neighbors as possible. Neighborhood block parties and various servant evangelism projects are being organized for the fall.
The church meanwhile continues to support a busy benevolence ministry and several thriving apartment ministries.