“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Matthew's Ministry

I first heard of this story from my friend and colleague Dr. John Shoup a scholar in the area of leadership who read about it in Kouzes and Posner's Christian Reflections on The Leadership Challenge. The Frankford District, Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church placed this retelling on their website. http://www.fewpb.net/users/frankfdist/devotion.html I provide a copy of it here below.

"MATTHEW'S MINISTRY Philippians 4:10-13

Adam Hamilton tells the story of visiting a woman (family) that had visited his church a week earlier. She informed him that her family had relocated from Texas. Though she appreciated his visit, she informed him that her family would not be attending nor joining his church. Why? She pointed to a child with multiple disabilities sitting in a wheelchair who had special needs as the reason why. The church in Texas had a ministry for such children that allowed parents to worship and be a part of ministry. Adam asked the woman that if she would be willing to attend the church if it could provide support for Adam during worship. She said yes. He said give me two weeks. He went back to the congregation and shared this experience and asked if persons would be willing to volunteer for an hour or so once a month to sit with and watch over Matthew. Several raised their hands. This was the beginning of Matthew's Ministry at Church of the Resurrection. Today, there are 35 persons in this ministry where children are watched and cared for while other family members worship and attend Sunday School.

Hamilton tells this story against the backdrop of an operating principle of his church of doing whatever is necessary for ministry to take place. Is this not a part of our calling. To sit with and watch over one another. An on-going lament of many churches is woe is me (us). We do not have the expertise, facility and know how to do these things. There is a mentality that we could do so much more if only we had the resources. God has already shown us what is good: to look over and care for one another. There are so many ways in which we can be in ministry with minimal financial resources. As you enter into a period of planning and resourcing ministries for the coming year, please be reminded that we need not impose parameters of why we cannot do certain things. It is my heart desire and prayer to God that you continue - please note the word continue - to be open to the many ways that we can be in ministry with one another and others. Peace and Grace. "

It all seems so easy, so obvious. We truly, "need not impose parameters of why we cannot do certain things." Obviously God can use experts, however, he doesn't need experts. See 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. God chose "the things that are not" to accomplish his purposes.


1 comment:

Angelia D. Venero said...

After reading about Matthew's Ministry, I was impressed. I was schocked by the congregations acceptance of this child. The reason I was shcoked is because a lot of people in church help for the moment. I did not expect the asking of help for one family to grow into a great program for others. I believe, one man's concern is another man's plea.