And for three days these words were sung:
Who will be a witness for my Lord?
I heard the witness of Rev. Scott Chrostek who started a church in downtown Kansas City by hanging out in coffee shops non stop. His goal was to talk to 35 people a day and he reached that goal every day for a year. He went from 9 in worship to over 1,000. Now they can't even house the amount of people they have worshipping.
And I thought to myself: "Could I do that, could I be a witness like that?" And insecurity started to set in. I doubted if I had what it took to be a witness for my Lord. Much less a pastor that could grow a church. First, I'm just not that extroverted. Second, my stomach starts hurting if I drink more than three cups of coffee.
Then I heard a witness of a guy named Kirk Arnold, who is an environmental lawyer.
He went to go help out with Sandbranch for their water delivery as part of that church's outreach ministry. While there, he overheard a pastor talking about a meeting scheduled for the next day, involving various government agencies. The pastor hoped the meeting would negotiate a sustainable solution for these residents who had no running water. But Kirk new from experience the difficulty of working with government agencies, much less multiple ones at the same meeting. So he offered his services. He is now the lawyer pro bono for Sandbranch community. For him, this has been a lifelong dream come true.
"What an incredible meeting of God's grace" I thought, "and such a blessing that he has this talent and wisdom to be able to offer in this particular situation. But the truth is, my profession is more of a generalist. I don't have a lot of practical specialities to be of help for someone. So how could I be a witness for my Lord in a situation like that?"
Then there was a member of University Park UMC who had received a phone call from Project Transformation asking her to find someone to work with a little boy named Issac through their after school program. Issac had autism, diabetes, and was a refugee, living in a state of poverty alongside his single mother. This member decided to be the one to befriend Issac instead of asking someone else. Soon, she found her life, as well as Issac's mutually transformed by this tender and nurturing relationship.
"What a moving witness," I thought to myself. "But, I don't have anyone calling and asking me to do anything except attend meetings. Sure, I might be able to share in kindness with someone, but time, that's the problem. With my lack of time, how could I be a witness for my Lord?"
And then I remembered something our Bishop told us on our opening session together: "Discipleship costs you nothing, but demands from you everything."
Let that one sink in.
That's when it really got to me.
Witness isn't something we do. It is something God does through us. It's different for every one of us. It demands us to get out of our comfort zone and talk to strangers, and look at our gifts and talents to be of benefit for others, and listen to the opportunities that call upon us, even when it takes up lots of precious time.
It's unsettling what God is asking me to do next as I hear it sung one last time at our annual conference:
"Who will be a witness for my Lord?"
I'm here to answer as your pastor appointed with you for another year :)
I hope you come on Sunday to find out not only how I plan on doing so, but to listen for how God might be calling you to answer this question as well.
Be a blessing,