A friend of mine was pastor of a small town church in Louisiana where the local library installed a telephone line children could call to hear a short story. It was an innovative strategy to foster reading but for my friend it presented a challenge. His telephone was one number different than the story line.
With the new service and the promotion of the new number Walter’s phone started to have a lot of wrong numbers with a voice on the other end of the line requesting, or sometimes, Walter observed, demanding, “Tell me a story.”
Walter, at first, tried to explain the fact of a wrong number but after a few dozen calls a kind of guilt crept in. Rev. Parker began to understand he had an opportunity to share a little time with a child and the inconvenience of a wrong number could be made a blessing.
So Walter started keeping a short story book by the phone and when the request, or sometimes the command, in a small voice, “Tell me a story” was communicated, he would sit down in the chair by the littlealter of a nook where the phone sat in his parsonage and read a story.
Walter had a “reactive” opportunity to be a blessing. Everyone has a “proactive” opportunity to be a blessing.
Neighborhood Centers offers an opportunity for Christian ministry that is “reactive” as a place to be in contact with deep human need. Neighborhood Centers also offers a place for “proactive” creativity in the adventure of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
So, come tell your story.
Peace and Grace,
Rev. Brent Porterfield
Executive Director, UMNC