Fall is upon us. And, as the leaves transform into gold, and the breeze cools, the change of season sends my thoughts strolling through warm summer memories like fallen leaves. The beauty of golden-orange fire-clad trees is viewing the fall, the change; the fun of the leaves already fallen is strolling through them once in a while. There is something in anticipating change, and there is something in occasional strolls through change just past. From where I sit in my office in North Carolina my view is more than a parking lot. I see leaves in the distance beginning to turn and leaves all around which the last five months have collected. And, I feel like walking. It is pastor appreciation month after all, so let me walk through the last season and share a little of what I appreciate.
I have learned that Emmanuel Baptist has a nursery team that is amazing. It is no secret that our church has welcomed a few new little ones into our families. But, it may be less known how many good volunteers we have taking care of them. Recently, when the call went out that our Revival services needed help with childcare every need was met in about two days. I love the eager, servant hearts that love our children and touch the lives of our families.
I have seen a similar heart for our grade schoolers. I was only beginning to know the Hernandez family when God opened the way and blessed them to serve at a sister church elsewhere. They are a faithful family and served in many capacities – to include teaching our 3rd -5th grade Sunday school class. When they left I saw God’s people willingly absorb the need. Classes combined, and new teachers came forward expressing a God-given desire to serve our children.
Our Wednesday night’s saw a similar situation. When our two children’s teachers (who are so faithful and give so much) desired a six-week break in order to participate in a wonderful women’s Bible study offered here at Emmanuel, we had multiple people who committed to serve in their stead. It is so great to see the partnership of the body of Christ as each serves the other.
With our youth, several of our parents and other members are consistently serving beside me. That means so much. When I have been out of town you have taught, and your weekly presence is an essential support. I am thankful for your partnership and friendship.
I am grateful for our youth and children themselves as well. Whether sitting in children’s church or catching glimmers of their unique personalities breaking out before, during, or after youth group, I am thankful for these first moments of developing and lasting relationships.
I also must nod in passing to our praise team made up of so many talented leaders of worship; our cooks who labor over hot stoves all day (more than you or I know); our VBS workers who organized classes, made crafts, planned games, built stages, learned and taught songs, and related the Bible to our kids. I look back and think about our family cookout in June and how many of you helped set up and break down all those tables and chairs. I remember our children’s day at the Marbles museum in July, and our water-day in August. We had graduations, and FUGE, and Tuesdays on the road, Christmas in July, the Galaxy Fun Park in August, and Adventure Landing in September. As I pause and consider God’s blessing in all of this it is a bit like sipping on Ray Bradbury’s dandelion wine, it is like strolling through memories like fresh-fallen leaves.
But then I raise my eyes once more to look in wonder at what is just out of reach, those leaves still colored with life. One by one they will descend from the heavens like tiny suns setting on the ground before me like days. And, the beauty of possibility is mingled with anticipating the fun of walking through them.
I am so thankful for this staff and this church. It is a wonderful thing to enjoy the changing seasons.