Last Monday, Hurricane Sandy blew through Bristol, taking down branches, closing our schools, and knocking out our power. While I was relieved the damage wasn’t worse, when I woke up Tuesday and the power was out, I put away my ‘To Do’ list and prepared for a day off. After all, who could be fruitful without the Internet?
At 10 am, my phone went off. It was Krista, seeing if we were still on for brunch. I said ‘Sure, why not?’ So James and Krista came over and by candlelight, we discussed life, Bristol, work, and what God was up to in our lives. About 1 pm, Mike came over and joined the conversation. Then Brittany and Kristen came by. Then Shannon, Krisann, and Hanah showed up. Around 3 pm, after 4 straight hours of conversation, I started to get a little antsy. Forrest was away on his honeymoon and planning to move out when he returned. So we all went up to Forrest’s room and packed up his stuff for him. Around 6 pm, Marjorie came with her parents and we did a historical walking tour of Bristol, in the dark. And while we talked about the history of Bristol, it was also a time to tell the story of Redemption and invite Marjorie’s parents into what God is up to in Bristol.
At that point, Susan and I headed over to James and Krista’s. They had a frozen turkey they didn’t want to go bad, so they had cooked a full turkey on Monday. Around 12 of us ended up gathering at their house and had a Thanksgiving dinner by candlelight. Finally, near 10 pm, Susan and I walked home through a dark and quiet Bristol, enjoying the full moon and the cool autumn breeze.
Why do I share this story? First of all, it was a beautiful picture of the family of God. People didn’t come together for a program or a small group or because the pastor was teaching and they needed to be fed. They came to simply be together. And as brothers and sisters, we fed each other, took care of each other, enjoyed one another, and walked towards God together.
Secondly, it was a reminder that people desire love more than comfort. Half the people who showed up on Tuesday had power and yet they still came to Bristol. Thus proving that friends are better than electricity. So often, we try to attract people to Jesus by making things comfortable. But what people truly want is to be part of something bigger than themselves. Sometimes we just need a hurricane to remind ourselves of this.
And lastly, it was a reminder that what matters in ministry is people. I was officially unproductive on Tuesday. I didn’t send any emails, work on any programs, or write any sermons. But I was with people. And as long as I could sit still and let the Spirit of God work, ministry was happening. There is nothing wrong with email, programs, or sermons. But they exist to make days like Tuesday happen. Days where we simply sit, open our lives to one another, and invite God in. Last Tuesday, I was completely unproductive. And it was one of the most fruitful days in the history of Redemption Church.