Mark has been with our church for several years. He’s a scraggly looking diminutive man in his fifties with a learning disability. He also has a significant speech impediment that is the result of injuries he suffered from a house fire when he was a boy.
Mark lived under his mother’s care until he was forty years old. That was the year his mother passed away and Mark slipped through the cracks. For years he bounced around from the streets to who ever would let him spend the night.
Eventually, Mark decided to go back to church. It was important because it was something he did with his mom. When he did, he had a plan. If the church he attended made no effort to speak to him, he would move on. We were his fourth church. In the three previous churches no one even said ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ or ‘get lost’.
What made us so special? One of our deacons said, “Hi. My name is Dave? What’s yours? Welcome.”
Dave spoke to him. And he worked hard to understand what Mark said. That was just what Mark needed.
Watching this all unfold from a distance, I learned something very important. Ministry isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s remarkably simple. One life reaches out to another life with the love of Christ. That’s all it takes.
Having said that, ministry is also very tough. I can understand the desire to hide behind fancy programs and polished curricula. Ministry is dirty and messy. It involves caring above and beyond what the rest of the world would expect. It’s pouring time and effort and emotion into another life. It’s self-sacrifice.
That’s ministry in the Undiscovered Country.