I’ve been away a lot lately, most recently at a missionary assessment event for my denomination in Kansas City. It was a great experience, and as I reflect on it, the high point was like many things in life: the people. There were five young couples there, in their mid twenties to early thirties – talk about smart, winsome, gifted and amazing – what an outstanding group of men and women! Even if I were of the temperament to wring my hands and worry about the future of the church (I’m not), meeting these young leaders would put my heart at ease. If this is the future of the church (in terms of humans inheriting the leadership) man, we have nothing to worry about. In a very short time I already loved them. What a blessing to be with them.
Which got me thinking about another group of people dear to my heart. I’m finishing up a Master of Arts degree in International Development at Eastern University near Philadelphia. Here again, I’m the old guy in the group. Mostly twenty-thirty somethings, these development practitioners and church leaders are a fabulous, diverse group of young, dynamic, creative, deeply intelligent, loving, Christ-shaped, Kingdom-minded people. If they are a snapshot photo of the future quality of the Church, we’ve got nothing to fear. I’m a richer, happier, better person for having my life intersect with theirs. USA1 and 2 Cohorts, you rock.
And then there’s my church. Once again, it’s the people. 17 years we’ve shared life together. I love them and they make it evident they love me. I’m amazed such a diverse group has laid aside their many differences and walk the path of following Jesus together, an amazing group. I’m so glad my kids grew up here. It’s, humanly-speaking, absolutely crazy for me to ever leave – I should stay and retire here. This gig is amazing. Sunday mornings I look around and think “I can’t believe I get this gig.” The kind of culture and vibe that has developed here is incredibly gratifying. It makes me want to tell stories that a lot of churches could pick up on – in fact, next time I will.
So, all that to say, like so many of life’s most precious experiences, it’s the people.