Friday, June 26, 2009

Faithful servants and unsung heroes

I met some extraordinary young ministers when I was planting a Spanish-language church in New Orleans’ inner city. One young seminary couple came to a service and said they wanted to join the church even though they did not speak Spanish. They were called to foreign missions and wanted to discover if they could minister cross-culturally. They could. They sang, taught the children and did many behind the scenes tasks that led to our rapid growth and to getting a church building donated to us.

They were looking for a ministry and it eventually led to a job. He became pastor of an English-language group we started and went on to minister overseas.

Another young seminary student had a job. He was minister of music and youth in a town a short distance from NO. He wanted to do something more significant with his life so he resigned, found a secular job, and came to be our music minister. He and his fiancé provided a level of music not usually found in inner-city churches. His talents and leadership attracted other high caliber musicians. The exposure and experience he gained led to a call to be pastor of a multicultural church. He, too, went to minister overseas.

There was a female student who was finding it difficult to find a place to minister. She was called to be an Army Chaplain and needed staff experience in a Baptist church in order to fulfill a denominational requirement for endorsement. She persisted in the face of rejection until she found our church. She raised her own funding and worked full-time as children’s minister for two years. She gained valuable experience and deeply impacted our impoverished community.

During the summer she ran a day camp using youth groups from other churches. She borrowed church buses (and drivers) and took the kids to the zoo and other nice places. During the school year she led a weekly youth rally that featured local Christian bands and evangelistic youth speakers.

These students and others who came created a learning lab that was changing the lives of inner city families. They were putting their calling to work in a difficult environment of different races, deep poverty and bleak surroundings. There were disappointments and victories but, I believe God used these experiences to prepare us for future ministry.

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.
Matthew 25:21 (New King James Version)

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