Archive for May 3rd, 2009

Reflections On Saying Goodbye

This past Wednesday we took the evening to honor two of our youth leaders that have faithfully served the youth of this region at Impact for over seven years.  Jeff & Cindy Towne are moving on from Grace Capital Church to serve in our newly formed Northeast Foursquare District as the district administrator.  I gave the youth at Impact the opportunity to share stories about how the Towne’s have impacted their lives over the years.  One by one the stories that were shared were more about the little things that Jeff & Cindy did that made a big difference.jctowne

Jeff was by far the best greeter we have had at Impact.  The stories that kids shared about him being the first person to help them get connected were a testament to that fact.  Whether it was the young man who spoke about being greeted with a big handshake and an invitation to play foosball or the girl who tried to hide in the crowd by sitting against the wall.  Jeff saw her there by herself and went to sit with her.  He spoke to her and then brought her to other girls to introduce her to them.

Cindy connected with the girls with deep compassion and care.  She gave her heart for these girls and did whatever she could to help them connect with God.  She would often be seen speaking with a girl who had been having a bad day and praying for them.  Cindy loved to laugh and brought with her a great sense of humor.  Most times we laughed at something that she did that didn’t end up quite the way she had planned.

Jeff & Cindy were complete team players who stood behind the vision of Impact and really encouraged me as the leader.  I knew that no matter what – they had my back.  I will miss them greatly as will many, many youth who have travelled to Mexico & Jamaica with them, wrestled at camp, been beaten by Jeff at foosball, spent late nights in prayer with Cindy, or crashed on their couch for a movie night.

The thing that became very evident as we listened to many youth share about the things that Jeff & Cindy did for them that made a difference in their lives was that it was the simple things that really made the biggest impact.  No one recounted a message that Jeff preached.  There was not one story shared about an amazing Bible study that they led.  It was the small things, the phone calls, the quiet talks, the handshake and countless foosball games.  Presence in more a factor in making a difference than presents.  This was a couple that understood that.  It was less about the public ministry and more about the private, meaningful things that they could do to help young people.

As I was speaking about Jeff & Cindy and recounting their faithfulness it dawned on me – and this isn’t something I am proud of.  I should have shared all of these moments with them many times before.  I have failed to really appreciate them for all that they had done.  I pride myself on sending hand written thank you cards and making note of some of the little things that people do and then recognizing them for doing those things.  Jeff & Cindy have been serving alongside me for so long that I almost feel like I took them both for granted.  I never want to feel this way again.  I want to be the one who acknowledges all that people do and ensure that they are well thanked and appreciated.  

At the end of our time Wednesday night Cindy mentioned that what I shared was very meaningful and that she had forgotten about a lot of what I shared.  I will always remember, but I want to celebrate those who serve so well long before they hear the call to move on.  I don’t want to wait until it’s time to say goodbye to recount all the examples of a persons faithfulness. 

My prayer is that each of you reading this will have people serving alongside you that are as faithful as Jeff & Cindy.  I also pray that you will know how treasured you are to the ministries that you serve in.