Do we ever accomplish anything in ministry alone? I don’t think so.
I thought about that recently when someone asked me to name some of the things I’ve accomplished throughout my ministry. While I can name some things, nothing on my list would qualify as a solo act.
Would Samuel have become a prophet of God had it not been for the vow that his mother Hannah took to dedicate him to God before he was born?
Would Peter have preached a sermon where 5,000 people responded and were
baptized if Jesus had not had a simple breakfast of fish with him and asked him three times, “Do you love me?” and given him the command to go and feed his lambs and sheep?
Would Paul have become the missionary to the Gentiles and author of a major portion of our New Testament if Barnabas had not given him an invitation to come to the church of Antioch? He might have stayed in Troas and made tents the rest of his life.
No, our paths are intertwined. We don’t accomplish anything alone. Sometimes, God’s plan is hidden. Other times, we are able to see God’s sovereignty at work, and take delight in His plan, realizing that we could not have orchestrated such things if we had tried.
Between my junior and senior years in college, I was the youth minister at Beulah Baptist Church in Boaz, Alabama. It was a great summer of ministry. The country church had a vibrant youth group.
As a music minor at Samford University, I had the skill to lead the group in a youth musical that summer. One of the other highlights of the summer was a youth “lock-in.” We had about 25 teenagers in the church all night.
Of course, I needed help! Two of my friends, Chip Seagle and Scott Spivey, made the 5-hour drive from our hometown in Louisville, Alabama to help me conduct the lock-in.
That trip became the first of many trips Scott Spivey made to Sand Mountain. He started dating Christy Arnold, the blond-headed senior from Albertville, Alabama, and a few years later, I conducted one of my first marriages.
They recently posted a Facebook announcement celebrating their 30th year wedding anniversary! They have two smart, wonderful adult children, Delane and Moriah. As a side note, their son Delane married Colby Elizabeth Sneed last year from Louisville, his dad’s and my hometown.
In 2008, Zach Dawes, Jr. drove into Moultrie, Georgia, from Austin, Texas, to become our new Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Resident at Trinity Baptist Church. His two-year commitment was designed to be a mentoring opportunity before being placed in his next church. I remember saying to Zach, “Don’t expect to find any women in Moultrie because we usually send most of our brightest and prettiest ones away and most don’t come back.”
Well, the first Sunday Zach was in worship, Peyton Montooth was home from McAfee School of Theology visiting her parents. I remember her coming forward to introduce herself to Zach after the service. I found out the next day that they went for a run that afternoon. I also discovered that Zach hated to run, but he was no fool. You don’t reveal everything on the first date!
These are just two examples of how lives were changed because people were willing to join me in ministry, and because they did, God greatly blessed them in ways they could not have expected or imagined. They came to help me and they were the ones who got the greater blessing.
When I think of these couples, I am reminded that we never do anything alone in ministry. When we commit to help one another, we never know what kinds of blessings God has in store for us.
I will always think fondly of the summer days in Boaz, Alabama, and the rich memories I still have of those teenagers and the fun that summer held, and of the two years that Zach and I worked together and the summer I worked with Peyton at Trinity Baptist Church.
While we did accomplish a lot together, I am humbled in knowing that God in His wisdom had far greater plans for both of these couples and the children they have brought into the world. God always has far more in mind for us than we can know or plan.