There is a phrase in Scripture that I often relate to; "...and Mary pondered these things in her heart..." Did you know my first name is Mary? It's a family name--my mother's first name is Mary, and I think my great-grandmother's name was Mary. So, I kind of read this phrase as a personal one.
And there are many times I "ponder these things in my heart." So many things.
19 years ago Tom and I went to Ridgecrest Conference Center to attend Sunday School week. Our trip was paid for by Earl and Jo Waldrup who were serving with us at our mission church. Tom took full advantage of every opportunity to rub elbows with the "great SS leaders" of that day. Harry Piland, Andy Anderson, Art Burchman, Larry Shotwell and others. We came home filled to overflowing with dreams, visions and plans! We also came home with the privilege of being "adopted" by Harry Piland. Through the early years of our ministry we were consistently encouraged and "coached" in how to grow a healthy church through "Sunday School."
So, when Tom was invited to preach this past weekend for the SS conference, and we took our worship team, 6 of our pastors and 120 or so other of our SS leaders with us--it was a time to "ponder." How did I get from one of 1500 plus people worshipping in the Spilman auditorium in 1989 to the wife of the preacher in 2008? How did we go from 3 SS classes back then with an average attendance of 30 or so to over 100 classes today with attendance pressing past 1500?
The slide show starts in my mind...the first Sunday of our young adult class, the summer I left to do GA Camps and gave the class to the Randy Coffman, Tom encouraging our people over and over and over again that if they didn't divide their groups we could never multiply...the business meeting when we argued over how much it would cost to rent a portable building for more space (because we were pressing toward the 80% rule). And the day we moved into that portable building. I see us making applesauce in my electric skillet in the preschool class, and playing a game in the 5th-6th grade class--I see each of our buildings open for their first Sundays, and remember how TJ scooted nearly across the TS Road before I found him (when he was a toddler and we were building another of our SS spaces)...the slides go on and on and on.
So, we went to Ridgecrest this weekend, Tom preached "the glory down" our worship team sang, 130 of our church members worshipped with abandon
and "Mary pondered these things in her heart..."
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