Last Friday evening I watched with wonder how my amazing colleagues served our Lord by serving one another and people they’d just met with such compassion and humility that the visual images will stick with me for the rest of my days. Many of these folks have been in professional ministry for more than twenty years using their gifts and graces, not their position, to be fully present for whomever God set before us. We registered early for the event. We attended the required training. We loved our colleague who led the charge so much that she didn’t have to worry about when or where we’d be. We’d be right there to do whatever was needed to provide an exceptional and unforgettable experience for our honored guests and their families. We arrived early. We set up. We stayed late. We mopped. We took instruction. We served. I’d never been so excited to be dressed all in black in all my life!
The weekend prior to Valentine’s Day is Night to Shine. Night to Shine honors teens and adults with special needs by giving them their own special night of games, dancing, food, fellowship, where every boy and girl, man and woman is crowned prom king or prom queen. The Tim Tebow Foundation started Night to Shine six years ago with 44 churches in 2014, now more than 700 churches around the world host the prom. My local church, in partnership with two other United Methodist Churches in our district, provided this special event for 125 honored guests.
Yes, our honored guests were celebrated and their families offered respite and an amazing dinner. But let me tell you what else I saw…
The event-leader was a part-time staff member who is a full-time Jesus gal who led a multi-church team which led hundreds of volunteers to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This didn’t even fall under her role on staff, but organized, encouraging, super-prepared, and all-in, her colleagues joined her in the charge because we love her deeply and whatever she leads, we know will honor the Lord. Her husband guided and directed all things transportation with an awesome team, loaded, carted, escorted, and ….
The Recreation Ministry Lead was assigned the most personal interaction as a buddy. I watched that man laugh, talk with, enjoy the company of, cut the food and hand feed his honored guest, then stayed for hours afterward to mop the floor.
The Youth Ministry Lead took photos and took down decorations. The Nursery Ministry Lead and her husband took professional photos for guest take-aways.
The Financial Department Lead greeted guests with energy and excitement and was the event lead’s gopher for the night, never leaving her post. The Head of the Finance Committee directed traffic in 30 degree weather.
The Worship Minister ran for the medical team when needed, ran messages for food allergies, danced with guests, announced the prom kings, and worked the room of buddies and guests making sure everyone was comfortable while her Choir and music ministry team provided a red carpet experience like no other.
An Admin served in the Sensory Room while another placed crowns on the heads of God’s precious.
One of my Super McEachern Kids Dads took bathroom duty. One new Sergeant and a new Dad took on security like the City Police Officer bosses they are. Another Super Dad shined shoes. A Super Mom cheered along with the Choir and Joyful Singers along the red carpet with her own Mom. Two Super Moms led a team to turn a gym into a Tiffany Blue Ballroom. Almost my entire team of McEachern Kids Sunday Morning Leaders were buddies, served food, played corn hole, ran the karaoke room, or danced all night long.
I didn’t see all the other 200 servant-leader volunteers, but what I did see reminded me how good the leaders of God’s church can be. I serve the local church with die-hard, hard-working, servant leaders who are the 6am workers Jesus talks about in Matthew 20 and the faith-builders in Nehemiah 6. I love these people so much as they live out 1 Corinthians 13 every single day.
In the words of our special musical guest Elvis, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5