When I was in seminary I was the youth minister at a church in Indianapolis. This church had a wonderful group of people called “the stitchers” who did some really great work. Among other things they made turbans for cancer patients and blankets for premature babies. This group was very open about accepting new people, but I never joined them. I do not know the first thing about stitching, and honestly it is a skill that had very little appeal to me. After graduating seminary, I started at a church in Avon. At that church there was a delightful retired couple who were very involved in motorcycle ministry and reaching out to bikers. I enjoyed hearing their stories, but I would never have gone out with them. First, I do not have a clue how to ride a motorcycle. Second, I have no connection with biker culture. In both of these instances there was good ministry happening that I really did not or could not have much involvement with. Which is fine.
I am amazed by the diversity that God created in people. There is amazing diversity in our physical appearance, cultural heritage, and way of understanding the world. Even among groups of people who mostly look similar and share similar backgrounds there is a wide amount of diversity in our talents, our interests, and our passions. Which is fine. In fact it is wonderful. I sincerely believe that within the body of Christ diversity is one of our strengths. The more diverse we are, the more capable we are as a church to reach a greater amount of people. We can use the gifts, passions and interests we have to connect the saving gospel of God’s love with certain people the way that no one else can.
There is power in doing this with the support of a church though. For instance, even though being a stitcher was not for me, I was able to facilitate some teenagers with connecting to that group. The church in Avon had very few bikers in it, but the whole church was able to help support the ministry of that couple so they had a greater impact. Even when it comes to reaching out to people that others cannot reach, we are more effective when we do it with the full support of a faith community. The same can be said for our outreach ministries. Not every member of North Judson UMC is fiercely passionate about ensuring that the needs of children are met or that the hungry are fed, but we all lend our support to help with Kid’s Closet or the Food Pantry in various ways.
I would not make a very good stitcher, and I am probably near the bottom of the list of people well-suited for motorcycle ministry. Again, that is fine. We all have different gifts and we all have different passions. We should all look for ways to use our passions and gifts to share the good news or make this world a more kind or loving place. We can and we should do this in a way to support one another though, because there is more power in doing it together than going alone. I challenge you to consider how your passions and abilities could be used to make a real difference. It could be there are other people in the church who align with you, and if we work together for that purpose, that is how we live into our mission to be disciples who transform the world.