Back in August it seemed like a good idea to sign up for One Day Without Shoes. We were at a leadership conference and had just watched a live interview with Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms Shoes. Someone (I’m pretty sure it was the pastor) suggested that we all go barefoot on April 5, 2011. All the Northminster staff thought this was a peachy idea.

When we made our commitment on that 90 degree August afternoon, no one thought to check the April 5th forecast. Believe me—I am speaking from experience here—it was too cold to be without shoes in Richmond today. But we were. Everyone on the Northminster staff plus a few of our crazier more committed members.

The idea behind One Day Without Shoes is to get folks thinking about how many people in the world don’t have shoes. For every pair of shoes Toms sells, they give away a pair to a child in need. And there is a lot of need in the world. Getting folks to go barefoot is a way of raising awareness of the tremendous need for shoes in the world. And as you can see in the video below, there are a lot of happy, barefoot people in California. At one point today I observed that I sure am glad we don’t live in Chicago. Or Michigan. Or anywhere any colder than here.

I did learn some things as I walked shoeless through my day.

  • It was too cold to be without shoes in Richmond (I may have mentioned this above).
  • The Northminster parking lot has really sharp rocks.
  • Life is a lot harder without shoes.
  • There is power in community. Folks were encouraging each other yesterday and today. Karel set up a Facebook event page. Donna texted a picture of her toes early this morning. Throughout the day we would not let each other give up.
  • The nice folks at Starbucks will ask you to leave if you walk into their establishment without shoes.
  • No other pastor came to the Richmond Baptist Ministers’ meeting without shoes. Imagine that!
  • Everyone notices that you don’t have any shoes on.

The biggest lesson was the most obvious: the shoes we take for granted keep our feet warm and dry, they protect us from sharp rocks and make life infinitely better. Doesn’t it make since that every child needs a pair? Blake Mycoskie thinks so. He started a company that gives away one pair of shoes for every pair they sell. You can help him by purchasing a pair of Toms.

BTW my Toms are the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. And I’m guessing they’re going to feel especially comfortable tomorrow.

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2 Responses to Barefoot’n

  1. This was an awesome day. My feet hurt so bad. I love being barefoot but when you have to go out it is awful. The ground hurts, it is either too hot or too cold. I often where shoes to match my out fit to go with my purse.But some people dont have that options. Thank you God for my options. And help me be a blessing to someone else here or abroad.

  2. Janet W says:

    Love this Sammy. Especially the part of your being the only pastor in yesterday’s meeting without shoes. You are one of a kind! Your people at NM love you. I sure do. You bless each of us and I’m truly thankful to have a pastor like YOU! Thanks for being who you are and for being a wonderful pastor at Northminster. God bless YOU always.

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