Sometimes God calls the qualified, and sometimes, sometimes God qualifies the called.
Many months ago I felt a calling, a calling that would lead me away from a ministry that I loved (with the afterschool program) and down a very different path. I would still have the joy of working with children, a passion that has been part of my entire adult life, as I continue serving as FCCHP’s Children’s Minister. Indeed, this step would allow me to focus more on my children's ministry and feeding into the lives of our youngest attendees.
However I was also being called in a different direction, a call that to be honest didn’t always make sense. I was trained as a teacher, not a web designer, not a tech guru, I was an elementary school teacher. Those skills transfer pretty well when it comes to being a children’s minister, but I was being pulled in an undeniable way to learn and grow in the use of technology in ministry.
I had done some website work before, filmed a few class projects and family events, but nothing on the scale that would come. Redesigning the website from scratch, developing a mobile app, learning how to shoot video, edit video, dabbling in graphics…. there has been a lot of Youtube video tutoring and Google Search Engine usage along the way.
Tonight I stopped and thought about how we have all been driven indoors, forced into social distancing. I thought how our church has a much friendlier, easier to navigate website than we did a few months ago. We have a video distribution system in place to help us live stream and watch video content on demand across five or six different platforms. We have tested, and rebooted, a video devotional series that is easily accessed from the web. We have the ability to chat live with those who may be seeking on our website or mobile app. Months ago when all of this seemed too big, too much, too far out, too impossible….when I felt too ill equipped, too uninformed, too scared, none of that was in place. But God had a plan!
God was not surprised by Covid-19 and behind the scenes he was preparing us in advance to not only weather this storm, but to be a beacon in the midst of it!
I don’t reflect on any of this as a way to get a pat on the back. On the contrary, I am blown away knowing how limited I am in knowledge and skill. I think all the time how there is probably someone out there that could do so much more with the resources I have been handed. But this is the calling that God handed to me, the unqualified. I think of the verse Dean quoted this past week that I will boast in Christ alone, and that is certainly more than enough to boast in! How amazing God is to accomplish His good work in spite of us, in spite of me.
I am thankful that God continues to put teachers in my life who know more, who guide me, who come along side and work tirelessly, who push me to grow. People like Tim Lathum who has spent more hours at the church helping with video system set-up, troubleshooting, and installation than anybody should. Folks like the crew from Text in Church who put on a free week long seminar that has helped guide many of the technological decisions that have set us up for success. Folks like Auston O’Hara who constantly finds things like Zoom and has ways of looking at technology that a geezer like me would never think of. Folks like Dean and Jim who have vision to see the value in things like RightNow Media and live streaming our Services.
No I’m not the IT guy you want to diagnose and fix your PC. I’m not going to sit down and write code from scratch to make an incredible widget or app. I’m probably not even the guy you want coming over to help set up your home entertainment center. But for this moment, I can look back and see how God was preparing me for such a time as this, and so I trust Him to prepare me for whatever comes next as well.