My first assignment of significant leadership responsibility in the church was given to me soon after I was married. It wasn’t really intended to be an assignment of significant leadership. I was appointed as the leader of the Royal Ambassador program in our small church.
What is Royal Ambassadors?
Think of it as Southern Baptist Boy Scouts. What it really was at my church was a child care service. The boys were huddled upstairs while their parents were in choir practice. There was maybe 4-5 boys in attendance when I first started.
I was only 25 and didn’t realize that I was merely supposed to baby sit. I thought I had been given a post of significant leadership – to help mold these young boys into young men.
I ordered the official Southern Baptist textbook for the program – Camp Craft. It’s the perfect resource. These boys are at an age when the sap is on the rise and this book oozes testosterone. Even though I was given a copy of this book when I was in RA’s – I didn’t just give it to the boys. This book was to be earned. I showed them the book and read them the index.
Camp Craft Index
- Trip Planning
- Equipment and Shelter
- Rope Craft
- Tool Craft
- Fire Craft
- First Aid
- Safety and Sanitation
- Map and Compass
- Fun and Worship
I made the boys aware that if they could prove to me that they had become masters of camp craft – they would be rewarded with a field trip! Within weeks the room could barely hold the 20+ boys that were in attendance.
Problem – I was supposed to be running a child care service, not building a team. I was approached by several elders in the church warning me that some of the boys that were now attending were less than desireable and being a bad influence on their “good” kids. I asked if they were willing to assist me – of course they weren’t.
As weeks passed, I would ceremoniously award young men a copy of the book. When everyone in the program had earned a book, I made good on my promise of a field trip. In fact, the top two in the class accompanied me in a mission trip to Barbados.
God richly blessed my ministry as Royal Ambassador leader.
Fast forward 10 years. One of the boys, Gerrick Taylor, had gone on to play football at the University of South Carolina. He had become a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program. On Sunday during the summer, he was invited to share his testimony from the pulpit. I forget why I was unable to attend, but I did obtain the cassette tape recording.
What’s a cassette tape? Well, it was a remarkable improvement over it’s 8 track predecessor!
I was driving as I listened to Gerrick pay tribute to the many people in the church that had been a positive influence in his walk of discipleship. You see, that’s the kind of mature man Gerrick had become. He did not lecture on his accomplishments. He did not use the pulpit as a platform for self aggrandizement.
I eagerly waited for my name to be mentioned. I rewound the tape thinking perhaps I had missed it. After listening to the tape several times, it was clear that I was never mentioned among those who Gerrick paid tribute to. I was furious. After all, had any of those Sunday School teachers taken him on an international mission trip? Surely their contributions could not possibly measure up to mine! My anger subsided, but my feelings were still very much hurt.
Then God stepped in.
I began thinking about other boys in the program. Most had gone on to college and careers. I was satisfied (proud) that I had been given the opportunity to help them grow up. But then my thoughts turned to one of them that had gone on to… JAIL! That’s when it hit me. That’s when I learned a huge spiritual lesson. If I was going to take credit for Gerrick’s success, then I must also take the blame for the other boy’s failure.
Gerrick, I love you Brother – and I rejoice that you forgot to mention me in that sermon. It’s a great feeling when the teacher becomes the student. You have taught me far more than I ever taught you.
That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.
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