last february our church unveiled the vision that god had laid before us for the next five years. part of it was the lengthen into other communities by planting churches and off campus video venues. another part of it was the strengthen up our staff and continue to train new leaders. the part that is most visible to most of the people in the church is that we set out to expand our current building to add another worship venue that would house our high school ministry and a weekend venue. we broke ground on the building back in september and we’ve been watching it be built since then.
the building is set to open in a few weeks and, before the carpet is put down, we wanted to invite our church out to write their prayers for this new space and any verses that they had for the space on the concrete floor. these prayers and verses will be sealed in once the carpet is laid in the next week or so. (shameless plug: you can watch a recap video of the night here.)
as part of the night, our high school and middle school ministries came into this new space to join with the adults in writing their prayers and verses for this space. we’re being very intentional about making this space as much about students as we are about the weekend. while our high school ministry was in there, a friend of mine came up to me and introduced me to a student who was wanting to get involved in the production side of things. we talked for a few minutes about what he wanted to learn and how he wanted to jump in. we talked about how the training process would go and what his next steps were. when we had finished talking about all of that, he turned to walk away and go back to whatever it was that he was doing before we met.
then he stopped.
he turned back towards me and said, “i gotta tell you this.” i had no clue what was coming next. he looked slightly nervous but determined. i knew he’d been thinking about what he was about to say but i had no clue what it was going to be.
i just wanted to say thank you. the first time i ever came to fuel was back in february when you were teaching during the sex series. since that night, my parents have started to come to church here, my sister comes to the 4th and 5th grade stuff, and i haven’t missed a single wednesday night. i knew this was the place for me on that first night.
all i could do was thank him for telling me that. it’s rare that i don’t know what to say in a conversation but i truly didn’t know what to say to that. it knocked me off of my feet in the best way possible and all i could do was say thank you.
when i was in 7th grade, my church took a trip to gatlinburg, tennessee for a weekend youth conference. it was on the first weekend in march. that weekend was surprisingly warm and, being stupid teenagers, we thought it’d be fun to go swimming in the outdoor pool. i was the youngest one in the group so i obviously just went along with everyone else and thought it’d be fun. a few people jumped into the water and that’s when we learned a very important life lesson: just because the air is warm, doesn’t mean the water is warm.
one of the older guys on the trip was a junior in high school named phillip. he had what we all thought was a brilliant idea: if we got enough hot water from our hotel rooms and poured it into the pool, the pool would heat up and wouldn’t be as cold.
we all ran to our rooms, turned the hot water on, and started filling up whatever we could get our hands on. bottles. bowls. coffee pots. anything that could hold water. we went back to the pool and dumped all of that water into the pool.
then we got more.
then we got more.
finally, someone decided to try and see if our planned had worked. they jumped in the pool and, to our surprise, the water was still cold.
we were bummed. we thought we had a great plan that would make swimming in the pool more fun and less freezing. a couple of guys went to get more water to try and make it work while a few of us just gave up. the guy who jumped in the pool to test our theory decided it was too cold to stay in the water so he made his way over to the edge to get out.
to his surprise, there was a section of warm water right at the edge of the pool. our first thought, obviously, was that someone had peed in the water. come to find out, the warm spot at the edge of the pool was exactly where we had been pouring the hot water from our cups, bowls, and coffee pots.
we didn’t warm the entire pool up.
but we warmed up one spot.
it’s likely that most of us will never get to see the impact that we’re making to world around us. it’s frustrating at times to work to make the world a better place, to change bad to good, to make cold water warm. so often we pour our heart and soul into these things only to never see any change come from it. we keep pushing along and pushing along knowing that it’s what we’re supposed to be doing but get frustrated when we jump in the water and find out that it’s still freezing cold.
in case no one else tells you this, let me be the first:
you’re making an impact.
the people around you are different because of what you are doing.
the pool may still be cold, but there’s a spot that’s starting to warm up.
please keep going. please keep trying. please keep filling up whatever jug that you have and pouring it in because we need you. we need you to push forward. we need you to continue to pursue whatever it is that you’re pursuing. i know that it’s frustrating. i know that you may feel like you’re not making an impact. if last wednesday night reminded me of anything, it’s that we don’t even have a clue how much of an impact we can have if we’d only do whatever it is that god is inviting us to do.
don’t give up.
the rest of us are counting on you.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.