Pastor Blake Williams
Missions & Outreach Pastor, Shiloh Community Church
As a parent I want to make sure that my kids always have an attitude of gratitude. I remember growing up and listening to my parents rehearse the same line with all 4 of us kids until we got it, “What do you say?” Which was usually met with a recalcitrant “Thank you.” But over the course of time we began to realize that it was less about the routine and habit of saying thank you, than it was about the heart behind being truly grateful for the things that people do for you, whether small or big. As kids we learned to hold doors open for people, to say “bless you” when someone sneezes, and acknowledge people cordially no matter who they were.
Now as an adult and parent myself, I so greatly appreciate the things that my parents emphasized to me because I find that they’re engrained in my being. My parents showed me that all people have worth and the work that they do is important. Tim Keller is one of my favorite pastors and authors and he says it this way in his book Every Good Endeavor, “No task is too small a vessel to hold the immense dignity of work given by God.” This quote is so powerful to me because it’s a constant reminder that no good deed goes unnoticed by God, and nothing is too small or unimportant that it doesn’t deserve to be done, and done right.
When I think of this quote, I’m reminded of the many people in our church who do things that don’t get a lot of attention but are vital to keeping us going. Greg Price has been a custodian at Shiloh for 18 years. He loves what he does and does it with excellence. Almost every day in the 5 years that I’ve worked here, Greg’s car has been in the lot when I pulled in. Our facility is clean, rooms are set up for the various groups that meet on campus, paper towels, toilet paper, and soap never seem to run out, and if any of us ever need a hand with anything, Greg is there. I’m thankful for Greg Price. He teaches me a lot just by being who God created him to be. I think of the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ““If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music … … Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.” I have no doubt that God smiles down regularly at Greg because of the job he does and the joy with which he does it.
I’m also thankful for Judi Neill. About 7 years ago I had a class on conflict resolution in the church and Judi was the only female in that class. Two years after that and about a month into my job here, we were hiring for the position of Facilities Director and Eric brought me in on the interview process. I told him right away that I wanted Judi to be hired and it’s been the best hire I’ve been a part of in 10 years in ministry. Judi is the person that makes this campus run behind the scenes. She makes sure that we have functioning air conditioners, Christmas lights on campus, rental groups in our community center, landscaping taken care of, and dozens of other things that allow us to function on a daily basis here. She is also an unbelievable steward of the churches resources and has taught herself numerous skills in order to fix things herself on campus. I can’t thank the Lord enough for the Neill family and what they mean to Shiloh.
Another family that has a huge impact on our church behind the scenes is the Cummins family. Brett is our communications director, Hunter is one of our custodians, and Hayden helped Kevin and I in the transition with the youth last year. On almost a weekly basis Brett is given a big task with a short timeline and high expectations; and he comes through. From God stories, to series graphics, invite cards, and other media, he does his work well. Hunter is one of the most selfless servants I’ve ever met. Like Greg, most people don’t see him doing the work he does but they are the direct beneficiaries of it. Hunter is quiet and reserved but thoughtful, caring, and quite funny. His brother Hayden was a huge blessing in planning events and games for us last year in the youth group and has a desire for kids to connect with the church. These three put in countless hours to love our church and to make it the best that it can be and I’m thankful for them.
There are many others that work behind the scenes here that I want to give thanks for. Michelle, Mindy, Macie and Jen all help our front office to go. Chrissy Redding is probably the best kids director a church could ever ask for. Tiffany McGill gives up time out of her absolutely crazy schedule to keep our finances in order. Nancy and Melanie Wheelen spend a few hours every week prepping food bags for our food pantry to feed the homeless and hurting in our community. Annette Tripke, Judi Spearn, Loretta Frawley, and Marcia Everett spend countless hours throughout the year buying and collecting supplies for Operation Christmas Child to make that event possible for everyone else. We have a group of people that spend a few hours every Thursday stuffing bulletins for Sunday service. And last but certainly not least are those that serve every other week with our kids.
This list is not exhaustive but as I was sitting here on Thanksgiving week I wanted to give thanks to God for putting me in a place with so many amazing people to be thankful for. There are countless others that do thankless work but that make this place go and we are grateful for you. As pastor Kevin said this week, there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. Find those things and those people, and give thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving Shiloh Family!