I’m not a runner. If you’ve met me before, you probably could have guessed that. But that doesn’t mean I’ve never run in a race before. In high school, I found myself on the track and field team. In truth, I spent substantially more time on the field than on the track. There was one time, however, when I was suddenly forced to run the varsity 200. Again, I am not a runner. I had absolutely no business running the 200, especially on the varsity level. From beginning to end, it was a disaster. How disastrous, you ask?
To start with, I didn’t even have the proper clothing – no running shorts, no shirt, and no track shoes. Second, I didn’t even have a set of blocks to get me going. My friend, Kevin, sat down behind me, stretched out his legs, and I used his feet as makeshift blocks. Needless to say, I didn’t win that race. In fact, I came in dead last. But the experience has stuck with me all these years as a reminder of how important it is to start right.
Starting Off Right at FBCA
So, what does starting off right at FBC Arlington look like for me? In a word, relationships.
One of my priorities in these early months is to get together with as many young adults as possible. I attended the Thursday night Bible studies for the Grad & Career Class a couple of weeks ago. It was interesting to see the differences in the studies. The women’s Bible study was from “Song of Songs,” while the guys were doing a lesson on the church’s relationship to the government. I enjoyed getting into their worlds. I even attended and refereed the College vs. Grad & Career Class dodgeball game that following Saturday. Nothing says, “Welcome to the Young Adult Ministry,” like a dodgeball to the face.
I also attended the Leman Class Social, Open Play, and Story in the Park. Amy and I even signed up to lead a Table Group with Robert and Anne Hoffman. I have had several lunches with staff members, potential young adult leaders, and folks from my search committee. This Saturday is the get-to-know-the-Chandler fam event.
I want you all to know that I’m sincere when I say it – I want to know you, and I want you to know me.
Light vs. Lightning
Focusing on relationships also means building trust, and trust leads to sustainability. And ultimately, that’s my goal for our ministry. I want to partner with all of you to build a solid young adult ministry that will cast light in our community for years to come. There’s a difference between light and lightning. A lightning bolt hits fast and lights up the sky momentarily, but the next is gone. Light, on the other hand, remains. Light has longevity to it. That’s the kind of ministry I want to help build, something that lasts beyond my time here on earth.
Fair warning! That kind of ministry takes a little longer to develop. It won’t happen overnight. It grows through slow, intentional work. It’s the work of listening before speaking. Work happens over coffee cups and Irish Nachos at J. Gilligan’s. It’s work that values small talk as much as deep talk.
It’s the slow work of building relationships and trust with a group of people we come to call friends.
It’s one of Jesus’s most striking statements to his disciples. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you (Jn. 15:15).”
I want to call you a friend. I’m inviting you into friendship and relationship. So, look for a Doodle from me asking to meet up for
lunch, dinner, coffee, or whatever. And if you want to initiate it, nothing would thrill me more! Let’s get out of the blocks right and start building a ministry that’s light to our community.
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