How to be Signficant
Every now and then I’m asked (this is a good Faith Group ice breaker): What is your earliest childhood memory? I have two and I’m not sure which came first: my mother in my childhood home, and playing on the playground of Menlo Church in Menlo Park, CA. Both are planted in my mind as nurturing memories.
Mrs. Nelson and John Jenks
Mrs. Nelson is the church volunteer I remember in my early elementary years. I remember her friendly presence and the juice and crackers she gave us. When I was newly out of seminary, we did children’s sermons in worship services. I confided in a colleague that I didn’t think my children sermons made sense. He said, “George, it doesn’t matter. What those children will remember is that you loved them and showed them kindness. THAT they will remember.” That’s what I remember about Mrs. Nelson. She was like Jesus to me.
When I was older (youth), I remember John Jenks. He was present through all my Middle and Senior High years as a volunteer leader. I remember his interest in me, his teaching and fun times on retreats. He talked about Jesus in a way that made sense to me. He wasn’t our youth pastor, but a volunteer whose presence with us was a constant anchor in those sometimes turbulent years.
From Success to Significance
Bob Buford wrote a book called Halftime: From Success to Significance. He wrote that in our hurried lives wrapped up in ourselves, do we take time to be ultimately significant? I think of Mrs. Nelson and John Jenks whose time with me was ultimately significant in its nurturing effect and spiritual care. They are spiritual champions to me!
When I look out at the hundreds of volunteers at FCC Hopkinton and Framingham, I wonder if they know how significant they are? Some share the love of Jesus with children, extend welcome smiles, serve food, shepherd youth and in so many other ways make FCC work as a faithful, caring church.