This fall has been filled with the busyness of another campaign season. Much like you, I’m running from one meeting to the next. And when I’m not in a meeting, or traveling to one, I’m preparing for the next video conference, giving analysis, or on-site visit. It is a true blessing to be very busy in this ministry!
But I saw something recently that helped me slow down. It helped me remember the main reason why I do what I do. My guess is that you could use a reminder of why you do what you do on occasion too, so I took out the smartphone and snapped a picture that has already become a favorite in my library.
I’ve said it for 15 years now – ever since beginning my work in generosity and stewardship consulting. It’s not about the building (or the renovation, or the money, or the fill-in-the-blank). As churches conduct generosity initiatives to fund God-inspired vision, we always need to remind people that while the building they are hoping to fund is a desired outcome of the project, it in itself is not the true vision behind the initiative. The building is but another tool in the ministry toolbox that we pray God will use to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of that. It’s not that I’ve ever stopped believing it – but sometimes a vivid reminder, presented in a way never seen before, puts new energy behind the mission of the ministry.
THE BACK STORY
One of my clients is at the midway point of a building initiative. The building is going up, excitement is growing, and anticipation is in the air for a grand opening only a few months away now. As part of a renewal for the initiative, and to celebrate the midway point of the campaign, we planned a wall signing. After worship services were complete on renewal Sunday, the congregation was invited to take a permanent marker, go out into the construction site, and write on the unfinished walls of the new space. They could write prayers, names of people they were praying for, scripture – really anything that represented a personal prayer for how the building might be used to make a difference in the lives of others.
A church member had been bringing a neighbor’s child to church over the past few months. Her parents had not been interested in the invitation to attend, but had graciously allowed their daughter to go. She is 6 years old and has eagerly attended almost every weekend.
When she heard that the congregation was going to get to write on the walls of the church, she was a bit confused. Looking for clarification, she asked, “Are we really going to get to write on the walls?” When told yes, she then asked, “Can I do it too?” And again, the answer was yes. She couldn’t wait for the day to arrive! She was told to think about what she wanted to write on the walls when the day came, and they would see to it that she had her very own marker to write whatever she desired.
So on renewal Sunday, families went to the construction area and began writing. Little six-year-old Isabella went outside, got her marker, and walked to a place where she could write.
After hearing the story of this young girl’s desire to participate, I walked the site looking for what she wrote. And I found it. Tears came easily that morning as I read what she had written: “I want my mom and my dad to come to church.”
Staring for several minutes, I saw the writing of this young child as she shared her heart for what that new worship center meant to her in her young life. And God gently reminded me of why I do what I do – to bring others who do not know Christ into a loving relationship with the one and only true Lord and Savior of the world.
Will you join me in praying for Isabella and her parents? Will you join me in praying for those who have yet to encounter Jesus in a real and life-changing way? Will you join me in remembering why we do what we do? Taking a moment for big-picture reflection, especially during this season of busyness, will help you slow down, clear your mind from distraction, and focus your eyes on what’s most important in this ministry work we share together.