Have you ever made plans and then suddenly, everything gets turned around and no matter how hard you try, it all gets turned upside down? We had made plans for the day. Down to the minute, I knew all that should be on the schedule. Making plans for 100 people on a Saturday in the summer and hoping they can attend is harder than keeping crabs in a basket!
What I didn’t realize (but should have never been surprised by) is that God had other plans.
Instead of the day being filled with activities for Ministry Champions to conceive ideas and strategies for how to do ministry in the upcoming year, Saturday was a day filled with actual ministry. As many of you may know, we celebrated the life of a precious Ministry Champion on Saturday. Ministry Champions volunteer their time here at church, often in addition to full-time roles in careers and obligations to their families. They greet people, feed people, seat people, and pray for people. They write letters, answer phones, pack baskets, and knit blankets. They sing songs, play instruments, move furniture, and direct traffic. They show up in the rain, the snow, the heat, and on holidays. 52 Sundays a year.
As I listened to all the ways this beautiful soul served her church family, I was encouraged by her faithfulness. In her two-year tenure at Bridgeway, she served in the Community Cupboard, helped organize Angels for Kids, put together Easter baskets, co-led the Thanksgiving Food Drive, and so much more. Wherever I had turned, she had been there, happily lending a hand. On Saturday, I watched her fellow Ministry Champions comfort one another. I listened to them love on her family and friends. The pain of the loss we were all experiencing was real as the reality of her absence slowly set in. I was in awe of how people described her peace as she made a decision to lean into the path that God had carved for her. I couldn’t help but appreciate all the Ministry Champions – the people who are the hands and feet of Jesus, the people who look into the eyes of those who are looking for an answer.
After I left the Celebration of Life service, I attended a wonderful celebration for another Ministry Champion who just ended her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. One year ago her journey through this scary period began. During her chemotherapy, as she made difficult decisions about surgeries and treatments, she lost her home in a fire. Some people reacted with shock. Some people blamed bad luck. However, she, too, chose to lean into the path God had carved for her. Her faithfulness and positive attitude were a compass to the rest of us. As I spoke with other Ministry Champions at her party, we praised the Lord for bringing her through, thankful to still have our friend. She shared with everyone it was her faith that carried her.
Both celebrations were filled with Ministry Champions who were “encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12). Both celebrations were filled with people “building one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Both celebrations rejoiced over the lives of these women who knew Jesus is the only answer. These women served the body faithfully, and when they were in need, the church served them. This was the church being the church.
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Psalms 16:9). No, the day didn’t turn out the way we expected. We didn’t spend it with Ministry Champions, planning strategies for promotions, allocating resources, and calendaring events. Instead, we celebrated together, we mourned together, and we praised God together. We did ministry together.
I thank God every time I think of our Ministry Champions (Philippians 1:3). Church isn’t about a building. It isn’t about great programs or even good food. It’s about transformational connection. I pray you are connected here at Bridgeway, either as a Ministry Champion, as a partner, or as an attendee. I pray that you know you are not alone and that we are here to do life with you, together. That’s the best ministry at Bridgeway.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25).
If you are feeling discouraged or need help or support, please contact Care.
If you are looking for activities where you can meet others, check out our Events.
If you are looking for people to do life with, connect with our Groups.