Unqualified Success

Posted: February 26, 2013 in church
Tags: , , , , , ,

I expected skilled and seasoned men.

I got little girls.

They were fine, better than fine. They were more fun than the tough guys; they took orders well, and more than that, they took the job by the throat and finished it off!

I asked the nine year old if she had ever pushed a wheel barrow. She said that she hadn’t, but she was ready to try, and off she went with the handles, plants swaying wildly but getting to their destination nonetheless.

The five year old, she could dig, and stand in the hole up to her waist, and roll a Raphiolepis into it and cover it up with a bag of garden soil.

When the job was done, we high-fived, and I was happy. It was a good workday at the church. My people came out.

Earlier that week, I’d had a similar experience. “Where did you get your skills?” I asked the guy who was kneeling in the doorway, hammering in a new threshold in our new worship leaders office.

“I learned a bit of everything when I was incarcerated,” he replied.

I needed him. We needed him. He was the perfect man for the job, the job of restoring fifty rooms at the church.

I drove him home. We were both happy.

The day after that, it happened again.

I was sitting in my office, with some of my church leaders ” We are a motley crew,” I said and laughed. We all laughed. A quiet artist, a retired school principal, a young Navy instructor, a former media repairmen, and me, the pastor, with an MA in literature from a secular university rather than an MDiv from a seminary — we are the ones driving forward a successful renewal at the church.

It’s Biblical. Jesus gathered a ragtag group of people around him. They got a shot at leading. They did good.

Recently I met with the leader of our food ministry. When she came to us she was a silent figure in the line — now she runs the place.

The transformation is stunning. She talks!

I look at her. One day she was a quiet follower, the next she was an empowered leader. We laugh thinking about it. “I know you can do this,” I say. “With your help I know I can too,” she replies.

Joaquin called me on the phone today. “Yeah I got your text. $1,800 is fine,” he tells me. We discuss capping the sewer, running the new water line.

We are unlikely partners, moving houses, building a big, beautiful new courtyard at the church. I prayed for the safety of his workers the other day after Joaquin and I finished lunch together.

“That was different,” he said, “I’ve prayed for myself, but I’ve never had anyone pray for me.”

Our church is undergoing a fairly dramatic renewal.

It’s being led by children, felons, and introverts, even by those just on the edge of the inside of belief.

A motley crew of successful leaders, bringing about astonishing changes — that’s different. That is so God!


  1. artwidow says:

    I love this! You have put into words beautifully what astonishes me daily at Good Samaritan.

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