For two years prior to starting this blog, I sent out a weekly email to a group of small-church leaders across Canada. In those emails I tried to encourage and mentor the leaders who received them.
From time to time when time pressures make it especially difficult to publish an entirely new blog entry, I will publish one of those emails that hopefully will encourage you as your read it.
Here is one from a couple of years ago that reminds us that even those people whom history doesn’t notice, play an important role.
May 26, 2014
I did something on Saturday that I had never done before. I attended two funeral services on the same day. Two women who had faithfully served in a church that I had pastored died within about twelve hours of each other. Both had been original members of the church when the church was founded in 1968 and had served together for more than forty years.
As I sat through the funeral services, my mind was filled with wonderful memories of each of them. Both were driven by a deep love for Jesus Christ and a desire to impact their world with the gospel. Along with her husband of sixty-two years, one of the women had conducted a church service at the local seniors’ home almost every Sunday for more than forty years. This meant that she rarely was able to attend the service at her own church but that was a sacrifice she was willing to make if it meant that the seniors in the home were able to have a service. The other woman loved scripture and was involved in teaching and leading Bible studies throughout much of her adult life. For more than twenty-five years she provided leadership for a monthly outreach to women in her community.
The history of the church has its list of heroes – Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham. I don’t expect to see either Barbara or Eunice’s name added to that list. I don’t suppose that they will ever be written up in the church history textbooks. They served faithfully in a small church located in a small town and fifty years from now most people won’t know anything about them. But for both services the sanctuary was filled with people whose lives had been impacted by these two women. I know that my life is significantly better because I knew them.
In 1978 I served at a Billy Graham crusade in Toronto. I will never forget the final service. The stadium was packed. The music was amazing. Billy Graham preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and thousands of people responded. Because of the responsibility that I had, I was one of the first people into the area in front of the platform. I looked up into a sight that I will never forget as thousands of people filled every aisle in the stadium as they came forward to make a decision for Christ. It would be easy to praise Billy Graham for the impact that he had but he would be the first to tell us that those people who came forward were there because people, who will never be known to history, built relationships and invited those people to come with them to the crusade meeting. Without those scores of unknown Christians nothing significant would have happened that day.
Our churches are made up of those people whom the history books will never mention – the Barbaras and Eunices of this world but it is the accumulated impact of all those unknown people that enables the famous people to be effective in their ministries. I thank God for the privilege that I had of knowing and serving along side Barbara and Eunice and for all of the Barbaras and Eunices that fill your pews each and every Sunday morning.