“Planting” in the Front Yard

“In all that I do—preaching, teaching, training [church] planters, etc.—I am constantly working to help people understand the gospel,” Noah Oldham said.

As the North American Mission Board’s Send City coordinator in Saint Louis, Missouri, Oldham coordinates planting churches in the greater metropolitan region. This involves working with church planters as well as the church partners who join with them. He is also lead pastor of August Gate Church. This multilocation church plant is a sending church for other church plants.

“But one of the most profound individual situations that happened didn’t happen in either of those contexts.” It happened in his front yard.

Oldham was working in his yard when a young man approached him looking for cash. “I don’t think God brings people into my path just for physical needs when they have even greater needs and I have a greater gift to give them,” Oldham said, noting he began talking to him as a friend. He discovered that Dante was 19 and living with his grandmother. A high school graduate, he had never had a job.

Oldham offered to take him to get a job application and help him fill it out. But then he did a greater thing—he talked to Dante about spiritual things.

He noticed that the young man wore a plastic Christian bracelet with something about Jesus’ blood on it. “So I asked him about it. Come to find out, his understanding of the blood of Jesus was little more than superstition. . . . He just wore the bracelet to ‘keep him out of trouble.’”

Getting a couple of bottles of water, “we sat in my driveway and I told him about Jesus—what He had done for me and what He wanted to do in his life.” Oldham gave him some cash for lunch and to go get the application.

He never saw Dante again and doesn’t know if he got the application. “But what I do know is that day, we prayed together for him to understand the gospel more clearly and for God to show Himself more fully so that Dante might follow Him.”

Sharon Neff tries to help others understand the gospel, especially her grandchildren.

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