I know there were many government employees who had some anxious moments during the recent shutdown of our government. Perhaps these that I will write about may not rise to the occasion of life or death, eating or not eating as a family, paying the rent/mortgage or not — or maybe they rise beyond that to affect eternity?
I was indeed affected by the shutdown as I was scheduled to preach for Robert Baylis in Marbury, Ala. He is in the Army Reserves and was to go off for drill that weekend and could not preach at his church. I was excited to come and supply the pulpit for him. However, late on Friday afternoon, he called to say that he did not need me after all as his drill had been cancelled because of the shutdown. I was disappointed as I was on a roll getting to preach almost every Sunday. But I had the opportunity to go hear someone else that day.
Eugene Leonard is the pastor/planter of a new church in Hobson City, just outside of Oxford, Ala. in Calhoun County. He had quite a different experience on that day. Many of his church members are employed with the government and discovered at the last minute that they had no day care provision for their children due to the government shutdown. They called their pastor whose wise response was that they would provide childcare at the church. The church is currently meeting in a rented school building, so the rooms were very suitable. I recently asked him how that was going. He said many of those who took advantage of their services decided, even after the resolution of the government problem, not to go back to their original childcare. Their response was,“You took care of us in our time of need!”
This is the kind of quick thinking, entrepreneurial spirit that all church planters need to exhibit. Pastor Leonard is doing an awesome job. Keep up the good work, my friend!