Summer 2017

Front-Row Seat to Transformation

Boldly living out the gospel in our everyday relationships

Three years ago, Liz was just a local hairdresser I had never met. My friends were all on the hunt for someone new to cut our hair, and through a series of con­nec­tions we found Liz. One by one my friends began making appointments. And as they sat in Liz’s chair, God began to build friend­ships and open doors for deep conversations about life and faith.

My friends shared about their own struggles and trials and how God had been faithful in their lives. The more vulnerable they were with Liz and the more care and love they showed her, the more open Liz became to sharing about her own life.

As friendships blossomed, a few women invited Liz to attend Unveiled—a monthly women’s event at our church, Hillside Church (EFCA) in San Jose, California.

One Friday night in January 2014, Liz walked through the doors with her best friend, Megan, both in their 30s. At this point, I still had not met Liz but had been praying for her and for Megan. I spent most of that evening praying that God would touch their hearts, that they would feel safe and comfortable, and that they would want to return.

Liz’s first impression of Unveiled, she later told me, was that she “felt part of a community and never felt judged, looked down upon or out of place for being new.” Liz and Megan found community at Unveiled and continued coming back month after month.

With each haircut, we saw God using some of us to plant and others to water the seed of the gospel.

For my group of friends, each haircut continued to be an opportunity to deepen the relationship. There were many group texts asking for prayer and open doors to share the gospel as one of us would be heading to our appointment. We began to see how God was using some of us to plant and others to water the seed of the gospel.

As 1 Corinthians 3:8-9 says, “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

As time went on, Liz and Megan grew more connected in the community of women at Hillside, and they decided to attend our women’s retreat in February 2015. According to Liz, the weekend was “life-changing,” giving them both a desire to learn more and to attend church each Sunday.

Four months after the retreat, Liz and Megan were invited to join a Bible study, and this is where we saw their community deepen. They began to study God’s Word and see how they could apply it to their lives. “My focus was no longer on how alone I felt or how I didn’t fit in somewhere,” Megan says about that time, “because I learned that I belonged with and to God.”

My friends and I continued to pray, and after Liz and Megan had been attending the study for just a few weeks, they both made the decision to surrender their lives to Jesus. They and their husbands then joined the same growth group that my husband and I are in, so I have a front-row seat to how God continues to change and transform their lives.

Looking back to the start of it all, Liz said she had already been “curious about going to church and pursuing a relationship with Jesus, but never knew how.”

So her heart was already prepared when her new friends issued their invitation. “I absolutely loved spending time with these ladies in the few short hours while doing their hair,” Liz says, “and I felt so special they would even think to invite me.”

God can use any relationship and any situation, even a haircut, as an opportunity to plant or water a seed of the gospel. And we get to stand back and watch the transformation.

Ruth Zylka is the communications coordinator at Hillside Church in San Jose, California.