In the last Serve Post, you read about what a mission agency in the bustling metropolis of Dallas, Texas, was up to. What a wonderful ministry and impact to a rough, inner-city area! Today, I want to share with you a story that took place right here in Findlay, Ohio, one Sunday morning about two years ago.
A young lady came to church that morning; it was her first visit to Gateway. As she was walking towards the main entryway, a person serving in our parking ministry noticed that she was quite distraught and simply asked if she was ok or needed to talk. The young lady proceeded to explain to him that her son was in jail due to drugs, was in a bad way and she didn’t really know what to do or where to turn. She also mentioned that she felt the Lord leading her into the parking lot, as attending church wasn’t her intention.
He listened intently, offered to pray with her-which he did-and she proceeded into church.
A couple days later, I was asked to visit her son in the county jail. What was a one-time visit turned into a weekly appointment over the next several months. I was blessed to follow his journey from the county jail to a regional community-based correctional facility and then through to his ultimate release. I got to know the young man and his family well through our times together; working through the Bible and answering questions along the way.
Unfortunately, a few months following his release, his perception of the post-release requirements and pressures he put upon himself proved to be too much for him. He overdosed and ultimately, it cost him his life.
Since I was connected and invested with him and his family, I was asked to do the funeral. As I write this today (and I’ve done other funerals), I have to tell you that this was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in ministry. You see, he and his family weren’t only congregants, but became friends.
The ‘young lady’ I mentioned earlier, his mother, was deeply impacted by what God had done and was doing in the midst of all this. She was and is grateful, and shares openly to me and others, “I love my Gateway Church." God has been and continues to be at work in her and her family. And it all started with a God-ordained encounter with a willing servant in the parking ministry area.
My point in sharing all this? You never know how God may use YOU to reach others for Christ, as you serve Him...you just never know. It’s humbling but also very powerful - serving God through serving at church - have you considered getting involved? I hope and pray that this true story of what God is doing and has done may help you decide.