I drove up the gravel road into a neighborhood I hadn’t seen. I didn’t even know it existed. I saw him in the distance - the preteen who asked about my church. We'd had conversations before, but his eager words that day drew me in. When he told me he wanted a ride to church, I couldn’t say no.
My heart wouldn’t let me.
He waved when I pulled up, then ran down the row of single-wide trailers to yell good-bye to his dad. And about that time, a barefooted boy on a bike pedaled up to my window and asked if he could come too. His light brown face was smeared with dirt.
“Can you go ask my mom?” His excitement took me by surprise.
Of course I will.
So outside of my comfortable box I went, up the crooked porch steps to the woman who waited just behind the screen door.
She'll think I'm crazy, I thought.
But when the door opened, I introduced myself. She nodded a sleepy yes and sent him off with one simple statement, “Be a good boy.”
That was the moment that forever changed my perspective on ministry.
With that one affirming nod from a stranger, I found instant connection. Our adventures began. One boy became two, and two became three. I marched up to more doors – this time without hesitation.
Because after the first courageous step, every one that followed became easier.
Before I knew it, I learned to live outside my comfortable box – because that’s where God wanted me. More friends joined the adventure. Our cars filled, we often wondered why God didn’t just give us a bus!
But then, you can’t drive a bus through Dairy Queen for an ice cream now, can you?
Of course, I’d like to say my mind never filled with what-ifs, but it did. The world would tell me everything that could go wrong. It would tell me to proceed with caution. It would have me question…
I don’t even know their parents. Shouldn’t I get a liability waiver? He might have a food allergy. What if he has a reaction to this ice cream cone?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be responsible. Yes, we should. But I also know when God says go ahead, I need to just go. And can I share something?
That one moment of obedience took me to a new level of courage in ministry.
Because from that day forward, I understood what Jesus meant when he said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
My friend Suzie Eller puts it so well in her book, Come With Me. She writes, “Faith begs us to climb out of the familiar.”
Yes. It does.
The adventure I described above happened a long time ago. Seasons change, and we move from one assignment to the next. I have a new assignment now, and it’s just as amazing as each one before. And every precious connection has taught me more about myself, and even more about my Savior.
God reassured me in a dream recently of His perfect will for every one of His children – every one of us. He brought back the memory of that moment that changed my perspective on ministry forever.
In the dream a much taller light brown-skinned man stood in a church facing the stage. I stood far behind him. He turned around and smiled at me, his face somehow familiar.
So the next time God challenges us to take that one uncomfortable step, will we say yes? Will we push apprehension aside and go where He leads?
Let’s answer His call, leaving doubt in the dust. Let’s take that one step that will begin a lifetime of courageous faith. His plans for us are more amazing than we can fathom.
Would you like to learn more about saying yes when Jesus says, “Come with me?” I recently read a life-changing book by Suzie Eller. Suzie walks through each disciple’s encounter with Jesus and encourages readers to claim our identity as the 13th disciple. I’ve included links to purchase below.