Here’s a quote from Paul Thompson of Twin Falls, Idaho, one of the 10 missionaries that are now back from Haiti after being imprisoned on charges related to trafficking Haitian children:
We’re four guys — well, we’re a group of 10 people — that are convinced that it’s better to get up off the couch and go and help people than just sit on a couch and do nothing.
As a guy who doesn’t like couch duty myself, I fully understand the sentiment–and yet as a trainer of nonprofits, I’d want to commend Option C to all of us in the future.
- If Option A is sitting on a couch and doing nothing, and
- Option B is getting up off the couch and going and helping people in a way that lands you and your posse in the slammer, then
- Option C is recognizing that it is incumbent upon us to deny ourselves the couch in the first place and instead devote our time to being coached and trained in growing to the fullness of Christ in all of the areas in which He calls us to serve…before disaster hits.
Many volunteer champions have served–and continue to serve–knowledgeably and with distinction in Haiti.
I have my ministry with you today because of the efforts of one of them.
Pastor Bill Rogers, who has gone on to be with the Lord, loved Haiti so much that he would always cry–always–when he talked about it. He took work teams and mission teams there every year. He spread the word about Haiti and the need for our love and care there to anyone who would listen. He raised funds and sent them on for projects he could not complete himself.
This was all in the 1980s, when Bill was serving as pastor of Mt. Olive United Methodist Church, where I arrived as a pukey-faced fall-down-in-the-mud Gentile who didn’t know nothin’ from nothin’ about the Christian faith. I met Bill because Tim Rush, the newsman with whom I was working at the time on WBAT Radio, where I was doing the morning show while going to college, asked me to go to church with him. I did.
I met Bill there, and Bill was the first Christian worker who ever coached and mentored me. He taught me how to get up off the couch and serve the Lord. Because of Bill, I became a pastor with a passion for teaching other Christians to get up off the couch and serve the Lord in ways that pair zeal with knowledge.
That passion remains vigorous to that day.
If Bill were alive to have heard about the missionaries from Haiti noted above, I believe he would have simply said, “Oh my.” And that would have been enough, since anyone who knew Bill knew what that meant.
So as I reflect on Paul Thompson’s words, above, what I am ultimately left praying for is that God might raise up among all of us a new generation of Bill Rogerses who call people to rise up off the couch to be coached and trained to serve on the front lines of ministry year after year after year, knowledgeably and with distinction.
Just like Bill.