From the Desk of Pastor Clay
A Tale of Two Haircuts During my last year of seminary and first year of ministry, I went into a Great Clips to get my haircut. After some of the typical banter of what I wanted done, the stylist got to work. One of my favorite questions to ask a new hairstylist is about how long they’d been doing hair. So, I asked this stylist. She answered. And then she asked me what I did for a living. So, I told her that I was finishing my last semester of seminary and was serving as a student pastor. And that was the end of the conversation. Boom. Done. Just like that. We sat awkwardly for the next fifteen minutes while she did a perfectly adequate job cutting my hair. She pulled my cape off, and then she left. No “thank you,” no, “Pay at the front,” no “Hope to see you next time!” Nothing. She was done talking to me, and that was the bottom line. What I have found in the last eight years of ministry and hundreds of haircuts is that that question only goes three ways: total silence like my first story, a non-committal “Oh, that’s cool,” or a cordial “Oh, I go to such-and-such church” before the conversation goes off to somewhere else. That is until the other day. I found a fourth response. After our strategy session about what my haircut was going to look like and after asking how long she’d been cutting hair, it happened. My stylist asked me what I did and, upon hearing that I was a pastor, gasped and exploded with joy, “Oh my gosh, really?” I didn’t know what to expect. Nothing like that had ever happened before. So, she spun me around in my chair and then said, “Well, pastor, can I ask you a deep question? I’m genuinely curious: how do you just have faith? Like how did that happen for you? Because I really struggle to have faith.” So, I shared part of my story, shared a bit of my God story with her, and then our conversation spiraled into all kinds of different areas. It was amazing. After my haircut, I just thanked her for such a good conversation (and a good haircut) and for being willing to ask deep, hard questions at 8:45 in the morning. And she thanked me for being willing to listen to her and answer her deep questions. This whole thing reminded me of what Paul said to Timothy in his last letter to his beloved friend. He urged his mentee to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim 4:2, NIV). Did I expect to engage in a conversation about faith while getting my haircut? Absolutely not. Was that what I would consider “in season”? Not a bit. But I was able to share God’s importance in my life with someone who was genuinely curious. I was able to lift her spirits by affirming that it’s okay to have questions even when we have faith. And God was honored by our time together.
Every day encounters can be opportunities to preach the word in some way. You may never know how God is working even in the most mundane moments of life.