Some Stories Must Be Shared

A lot of email shows up in my inbox on a weekly basis. Some of it is junk, much of it is important if not exciting, some of it requires a thoughtful response, and every once in a while an email shows up that must be shared. Courtney, a mom in the Discovery Class, sent me a “must share” email this week. So with Courtney’s permission here it is…

Hi Keith,

We met at the Newcomers Brunch and I just wanted to reach out to you and tell you how amazing the Agape kids program has been for my son and me. [note: Agape is a ministry of The Crossing that works with children and students with some kind of special need.]

I started attending The Crossing back in April, after about a year of “encouragement” from Dr. Bohon. 🙂

My son (note: he’s 7 years old) was born with Koolen deVries syndrome, a rare chromosome disorder that has left him with a slew of health issues along with developmental and speech delays. I’ve always felt he had a close connection with God, even though he couldn’t verbally express it. I’ve also seen the ability that he has to change the lives of those around him. He has a hard working, never give up attitude and an ability to forgive and love unconditionally. These are things that adults struggle with daily, yet he handles it with ease and reminds me daily that I too should forgive quickly and love unconditionally.

After our third Sunday at The Crossing, my non verbal son brought me his communication device and pushed the buttons to form the sentence “want read bible. ”  I knew then that my child understood way more during his time here then I gave him credit for.

Raising a child is challenging. Raising a child with special needs brings on a whole new set of challenges.

We had tried church before. But having a child with special needs means sometimes you spend more time walking the halls or in the cry room than actually getting to enjoy the message. Sometimes when you have a child with special needs you give up things simply because it’s too hard for your child to handle.

I didn’t realize how much was missing from my life until after my first service at The Crossing. It was Easter Sunday. I was crying by the second song and continued to cry pretty much the entire service. Not tears of happiness, not tears of sadness, but tears of the overwhelming feeling that I was exactly where I needed to be at exactly the right time. We haven’t missed a Sunday since.

I don’t think there is anyway to truly explain how much the Agape program means to me. Every parent needs and deserves a break, but having a child with complex needs means those breaks are few and far between. I never knew how much I needed that hour. That hour of being able to be by myself to worship the Lord and pray. That hour each week gives me the strength to get through the week that follows, and the week after that. Because of this program I’ve not only been able to grow closer to the Lord, but because of it I’ve become a better, more focused, parent.

From the first initial contact with Katie [note: Katie is the Director of Agape Ministry for Crossing Kids and Students.], the whole process has been amazing. She was kind, compassionate, and even found a buddy on short notice for Easter Sunday. Our buddies, Sadie and Jessica, have been nothing short of amazing. I don’t think they will ever understand how much an hour of their time on a Sunday has transformed our lives.

There aren’t words to describe my gratitude towards The Crossing, the Agape Program, and every volunteer that has made it possible. A simple thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

To you and everyone else involved that makes this church what it is:

Thank you, thank you for helping me run my race!

Sincerely,

Courtney

I hope you can see why I thought you should read this story. God is using this church to make a difference in people’s lives.

What Can We Learn From Courtney’s Email?

1. Let’s start with the invite. Rick Bohon, long time member of The Crossing, took the initiative to invite Courtney, a co-worker, to come to church. It sounds like that over the course of the year he encouraged her a few times to give it a shot. Is there someone that you have a relationship with that you could invite to come to church with you?

2. Your serving makes a massive impact in people’s lives. Courtney mentions two women, Sadie and Jessica, who give of their time and how much that means to her and her son. I wonder if there’s a place at The Crossing where you could give an hour on a Sunday morning in order to make a lasting difference? If you’re already serving, thanks. Your sacrifice is known by God and appreciated by us.

3. Your generosity allows this kind of ministry to happen. Can I be blunt? The Agape ministry that works with Crossing Kids and Crossing Students requires a lot of resources. But because of your sacrificial giving this is the kind of ministry that we can have. Your giving means we can hire a full time staff person like Katie Fowler who has not just the heart for kids with special needs but also the knowledge and experience to lead the Agape Team. Of course Agape is just one example of how your giving allows us to hire the right kind of pastors and staff to lead ministries at The Crossing. God takes money and turns it into ministry that leads to changed lives.

Be encouraged. God is at work here. Let’s be thankful and look for opportunities to invest our time, talent, and treasure in what he’s doing.

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