Church ministries, in parishes of all sizes, are successful when God calls someone to lead that ministry and their response is - "yes Lord send me". There are many examples of this relationship, the key to the success is that first we hear God calling us, and second, we say – yes Lord send me.
Twenty-four years ago, Mary Lou McMaster responded to God’s call to serve the important ministry of African Palms. Thirteen years ago, when thinking it might be time to step back from the ministry, Mary Lou again heard God’s call and responded by serving as chair of the African Palms board. After thirteen years as board chair, and twenty-four years on the board, Mary Lou has stepped back from her official duties with African Palms.
Serving on a ministry is not intended to be a “life-sentence”, and success is not measured in years. For Mary Lou the ministry of African Palms was just too important to look at the calendar. Having had the privilege of traveling to Tanzania with Mary Lou, I was able to witness how much this ministry means to her, and how much the life of this ministry has responded to her loving care. Mary Lou’s finger print, her very DNA, will be forever a part of African Palms and for that we give thanks to her and to God.
Even now, in “retirement” from African Palms, Mary Lou still has a passion for the ministry, just ask her and learn; and then thank her.
Many years ago, in another parish, I was washing a silver chalice and looked at the engraving on the bottom. The chalice had been given, many years prior, in thanks for the 50 years of altar guild service by someone who was still actively serving on altar guild. Time flies when serving God.
The same is true for someone I know who taught Sunday School for over 30 years, and he said it was he who benefited from the ministry more than the children; which we of course know was a benefit to both.
Serving God in a ministry of the church is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Listen, and then say – yes Lord send me.