Today, I am thinking about how grateful I am for a couple of people who I served with in Waco, Texas. For 20 years, I preached at the Crestview Church of Christ. Ministering anywhere for 20 years says much about the church. Many wonderful people make up this fine congregation. I am grateful for the men and women who encouraged me, and in so many ways, helped me in my ministry in the Waco community. These include grandparents, parents, singles, elders, deacons, other ministers, etc. I even received much encouragement from people outside the congregation that helped me greatly.
I am especially thankful for two people in particular. These are the administrative assistants who I worked with for 20 years. During the early years, I worked with Rita Johnson. Rita served the Crestview Church for many years. She was gracious, kind, and loves the Crestview people. She was invaluable when I first came to that congregation years ago. She knew the people and was in touch with them. When I had only been there for a short time, he helped me figure out how to best serve and how to best respond to particular situations. She seemed to know who was discouraged, who needed a little attention, and who probably just needed to be heard. She had good instincts, was trustworthy, and could relate to people of various ages. (Charles Siburt would occasionally refer to her as “Saint Rita.”)
In the later part of my time in Waco, I worked with Joy Weldon. Joy brought a heightened professionalism to our church office and had very good organizational skills. These organizational skills were helpful to me as I began to juggle more and more ministry opportunities and responsibilities. She was thorough and paid keen attention to detail. She was an English major who helped me immensely with my writing. She was incredibly dependable. I could count on her to come through with any project she worked on. She, too, had good instincts and was trustworthy.
Because of the work of both of these women, I was a more effective minister while I was in Waco. They both helped to significantly increase my effectiveness with the congregation.
On Sunday mornings, when I preached in Waco, I was in front of many people. Often, I was on the receiving end of kind words and compliments. Yet, I know that behind the scenes, during the week, either Rita or Joy had worked very hard to help finish a project, complete a task, or help me process a situation. I often received the affirming words but they were often behind the scenes supporting, processing, and helping to make things happen.
Those of us who preach or are in some kind of other ministry role would do well not to take ourselves so seriously. We would do well not to get carried away with the praise of others. After all, we are indebted to those who have had a part in our ministries. Some encourage, some pray, and others assist us in very practical ways like Rita and Joy. Let us be grateful for each person who, in some way, helps to make a kingdom difference.
Are there administrative assistants in your congregation for whom you are especially thankful?