Published August 31, 2017
“Ordinary People” was the Best Picture of 1980, but it was also the title of a song written by Andre Crouch. It inspired a group of believers to remember that God uses just ordinary, regular people. But I don’t know if we still believe that fact.
Duncan, Matlob, Peters, Gabriel, Matillano, Pyne—these are the names of ordinary people. A bricklayer, a mechanic and a salesman are just a sampling from my church background. These were my Sunday school teachers, my AWANA leaders and my youth group sponsors. These men were the ones that were handed a quarterly leadership guide (a booklet that explains step by step how to teach a class) at the beginning of a 13-week stint that would have them corralling a class full of boys for an hour each Sunday morning.
And they did it. They did not wait for a weekend training seminar. They did not look to a “professional” to do it all. They said “yes” to the Sunday school superintendent. They got their manual, took it home and did the work. And I believe many of them would work all week and then work at home all Saturday. They may have preferred to sit down and watch “The Rockford Files” or “Starsky and Hutch” (yes, those aired on Saturday night in the ‘70s!), but instead they would read their Bible and leadership guide, pray and prepare for Sunday morning. They cared about me enough to do the work.
Do I remember all of their lessons? Nope. In fact, much of it was really boring, but they loved me enough to do something. And in the words of Mike Yaconelli (the founder of Youth Specialties), “Something is better than nothing.”
Now for the disclaimer—I believe in training. It is really helpful. It is important. But I believe it has also become the excuse to get out of doing something. The fear of not doing something perfectly or the fear of making a mistake has stopped so many from just doing the basics.
If I had a dime for every time I heard the past generation being accused of being legalistic—I would have a lot of dimes. I have also heard that they were at church too much and didn’t show us the love that they should have shown. But I believe they showed us love by doing what they did. Today, we have before us many who have little interest in church because they choose so many other activities to be involved in instead.
Here’s my prayer—that this next generation would take on some of this heart. That they would realize we learn more by doing than by waiting to be taught how to do. I hope they will be willing to do the little things. Crouch put it this way, “Because little becomes much as you place it in the Master’s hand.”
Mark H. Meyers (’85) is the senior pastor of Grace Bible Church in Warrenton, Missouri. He and his wife Kimberly have three children and two grandchildren.