“Get out of the way! Got to get to the beach!” Caleb just has a way of making us laugh at ourselves.
On a recent trip to the beach, after nearly 10 hours traveling in a car, we had grown a little punchy and eager to get there. Whenever we got behind a pokey car, my son would crack us up with his Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.
On another trip to a beach, Caleb was covering himself up with sand. Suddenly he bolted to his feet, howling in panic, his arms flailing about frantically. “What in the world?” I asked. Before he could answer, a crab almost the size of a jar lid went hurling into the air.
As Caleb was digging, the crab had grasped hold of his finger. More alarmed than in pain, Caleb now peered about wild-eyed for the far-flung crustacean, as if it were some huge sea serpent that washed ashore. The crab, likely as surprised to have found itself cartwheeling high above the sand, appeared stunned for a moment before scurrying off, eyeing Caleb sideways as it went.
Oh, how we’ve wished again and again that we’d taken a video of Caleb dancing around with a crab clasped to his finger. It would have gone viral! We’d have taken home the prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos for sure.
Now, normally Caleb loves crabs—especially when they come on a dinner plate. Crab cakes, deviled crabs and crab legs on an all-you-can-eat buffet make him very happy. He isn’t as wild about them, though, when one attaches itself to his hand.
Both Caleb and the crab obviously were unaware of each other that day, and that led to a most unfortunate, yet quite amusing, encounter. Awareness matters!
Like Caleb and the crab surprised each other, many Americans seem to be as surprised to find our churches are engaged in serving others, as strange as that may sound.
Some may have heard of churches that have clothes closets and feed the hungry, and perhaps even know about our disaster relief work, but beyond these important ministries, our acts of service appear to go unnoticed, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.
When it comes to ministries such as tutoring kids and teaching job skills, unless someone has received help or become personally involved in serving others, “these kinds of programs may fly under the radar,” Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said.
Few Americans are aware that churches help provide foster care and teach English to immigrants; a few more may know of churches offering tutoring, providing aid to new moms, supporting local schools, offering after-school programs, and visiting prisoners, the survey found. Still, only about a third of those surveyed knew that some churches provide shelter for the homeless or are involved in disaster relief efforts.
What does this tell us? Kentucky Baptists certainly are doing some good works in Christ’s name, yet some who need our help may be missing out—particularly if they haven’t heard about the church’s ministry efforts.
While church members often know about our efforts to serve others through a myriad of ministries, our good deeds may be going unnoticed by the rest of the community. The remedy should be obvious. We have to do better at telling people about the ministry efforts of our churches and in encouraging Baptists in serving others.
Summer issues of the Western Recorder are among my favorites for this very reason. These issues frequently are replete with stories of Baptists who are busy serving others in Christ’s name.
In this issue, for example, page 1 features a 14 year-old teen who walked 300 miles to raise awareness about the travesty of human trafficking; page 2 contains a story about 200-plus volunteers passing out 6,000 Bibles and NASCAR tracts in Sparta; On page 6, we learn about a bi-vocational pastor Jeremy Smith’s heart for a small Eastern Kentucky town; page 8 showcases 965 students and crew leaders repairing homes in Greensburg through Kentucky Changers and members of an Ashland church who conducted a Vacation Bible School for children with special needs; and page 11 tells about Lindsay McDonald, one of about 190 runners who participated in a Phoenix 5K that raised nearly $4,000 for hunger relief, and about a Judgment House that is drawing attention to the region’s rising drug overdoses.
Now, these are some stories worth sharing! Your people need to hear some good news. Encourage them to read the Western Recorder and to share these stories with their friends and neighbors.