“The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.”
I Corinthians 3:8
As I did my devotions one morning, this verse jumped out at me. As I have grown as a leader, I have grown to see those who lead from the front and those who lead from behind. In the church world, we love to see the stage because that is where we think the “real ministry” occurs. I still get excited about church services – the worship, the Word and God’s spirit touching lives “right where we are at” still amazes me.
What about the people you don’t see on stage? Like David, who sets up cones before anyone arrives on Sunday morning and directs traffic. He always has a smile and an encouraging word. Like Bill and Frank, who sets up the stage before the first musician or singer arrive. Like Kristin and Jessica, two ladies who help lead our First Impressions teams. We call them “Blue Shirts” but to many, they are the first smile or kind word to make people feel welcome. The FoodOlogist who keep our food venues stocked and ready for volunteers and staff to enjoy. The men and women who do security – helping people and environments stay safe. The preschool teachers who show up early and stay late so our children have a safe, fun environment with people who care about them.
And the one who actually stopped me in my tracks recently. I was walking through the preschool wing on our Van Dyke campus during the service. As I came up, I noticed kids walking toward the Elementary area with adults. Jon, one of our strong but gentle security guys, said, “They are taking some of the special needs kids in to hear P. Mike’s message.” I followed them in and watched this one special needs boy with his buddy. He held her hand, stroked her hair, put his arm around her, smiled big and she smiled big back and gently encouraged him to listen. I was amazed at her desire to serve someone else. I walked back to the room and looked in. One was playing ball with the teachers left in the room. As I looked in, Jon began to tell me about each of the kids by name. The one still in the room had a little too much energy that morning to go into service so the teachers engaged him another way…playing ball. Tears formed in my eyes. Ministry doesn’t always happen on a stage.
As I greeted that morning, I saw that little boy who was with his buddy. His mom was holding his hand and walking to the car. I thought, “How many hours a week does she get a break and get to just focus on her relationship with God?” I am grateful for all of our volunteers and key leaders. You might not think anyone sees because you are not on stage…but you are wrong. I see you…and so does He.