September 2010


This past week was filled with preparation for our annual choir retreat.  Our retreat was Friday, Saturday and ended Sunday when our choir sang their new music at First United Methodist Church in Melbourne.  Our South Carolina choir members traveled to be with two of our choirs in Central Florida. 

We spent Friday night at Word of Life Retreat in Hudson, Florida.  It was a marvelous experience.  Three meals (lunch, dinner and breakfast) and a night in cabins for $50 a person.  The meals are unbelievably extravagant.  The accommodations are excellent for campgrounds.  There are 12 bunk beds in each cabin with two rooms and a large bath with three showers.   We were given enough cabins so that we didn’t have anyone on top bunks, except one person who always chose the top bunks.  Things are clean and new.  These were the cabins where they formerly housed their full-time Bible college students.

After an amazing breakfast, we went to Holy Land Experience, in Orlando, Florida.  I must tell you that I’ve resisted going there for years.  However, this visit has changed my mind and heart.  The tickets on-line are $30.  There is now a series of stage plays all day long.  They are funny and Bible based.  The actors and singers are gifted men and women whose dedication to the Lord shows in each performance. 

Even more than the food, teaching, entertainment, fellowship and accommodations, the Lord truly moved on the hearts of our choir members.  We saw hard heart melt and soft hearts weep for families and friends.  As we left, each of us said that the most important thing that had happened was the we met God in a miraculous way during our retreat.

The Family Cafe is very excited to announce that we have been awarded
a federal grant to serve as Florida’s Family to Family Health
Information Center! This grant from the US Department of Health and
Human Services will support our efforts to provide families in our
state with accurate, relevant information for families of children and
youth with special health care needs.
 
This program fits in very well with the activities that The Family
Cafe is already engaged in, and we are looking forward to providing
Floridians with all kinds of useful information over the course of the
grant.
 
The beginning of this program coincides with the six-month anniversary
of the Affordable Care Act. As you may have heard in the news, many
important provisions are now in effect. As we get the Family to Family
program up to speed, we thought that sharing some information about
the changes in the law would be a great place to start!
 
One of our grant partners, Families USA, has a lot of information
collected in one place. Please take a moment to check out their
Patients Bill of Rights page
<http://www.familiesusa.org/health-reform-central/september-23/>
. It has a lot of information about the changes, including new rules
about pre-existing conditions, annual and lifetime limits, and
limitations on insurers’ ability to cancel your policy.
 
This is an exciting time for all of us, and The Family Cafe is looking
forward to being your source for reliable information and essential
resources to help you take care of your family. We will be telling you
much more about what we have in store soon, but in the meantime,
please check out the Families USA resources!
 
Yours,
 
The Family Cafe

Today, 28 people traveled to Hudson, Florida for our choir retreat.  Our members were overwhelmed by the positive and wonderful response that they received by the Bible College student at Word of Life.  We could never thank them enough for their gracious response to us.

While our population is a cloistered sub-culture, it is not always by their choice.  Yes, they love being together and sharing among themselves.  However, when people show them gracious and loving hospitality, they are exceptionally complimented and feel that love. 

We will never be able to thank the students from Word of Life enough for singing with us for hours.  Playing pool and swimming with us was so much fun.  We hope that they will come to visit us.  Of course college students are always strapped for gas money.  However, we never know when God is truly working in the hearts of people and perhaps even drawing people toward ministry within this important population.

In the meantime, thank you, students for loving us and showing such hospitality!

Os Hillman sends out a daily newsletter that I enjoy reading.  It is geared to people who are involved in business and are attempting to involve Christ into everything they endeavor.   However, I find that his words often speak to those of us who are entrepreneurial by nature and are involved in full-time ministry. 

I intended to paraphrase his work, but I really can’t say it better than he did.  Hope you can transfer what he is saying to your ministry as easily as I could.  Perhaps those of us in ministry face greater danger than people in the work place in regard to doing “a work” to which God has not called us.

“When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark…” 1 Chronicles 13:9-10

There are good things we can do, but only God-things we should do. Those activities not born out of the Spirit will result in wood, hay, and stubble. What seems good in our eyes may be an abomination in God’s eyes. For instance, if you decide to build an orphanage but God has never directed you to do so, then God will not see that work as good; it was born out of your own strength, even though it was a “good work.”

The most difficult challenge a Christian workplace believer will ever have is to know what things to be involved in and what things not to be involved in. Many workplace believers have a great ability to see opportunity. What appears to be a “slam dunk” may come back to haunt us if God never ordains us to enter that arena. There are many good things we can be involved with. However, there are God-things we are supposed to be involved with. Uzzah was a good man in David’s sight. It was a time of celebration, and David and the people were transporting the ark of God. However, the ark hit a bump, and Uzzah reached for the ark to hold it steady. He touched the ark, and he immediately died. David became very upset with God about this situation; he questioned whether he could serve God.

God’s ways are not our ways. The most important quality God desires to develop in us is our dependence on Him and Him alone. When we begin to make decisions based on reason and analysis instead of the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, we get into trouble with God. David later learned the importance of this principle in his own life. This encounter was one of the stepping-stones in his pilgrimage. David was an extraordinary entrepreneur. He ran the nation very successfully, but he, like each of us, had to learn the difference between “good things” and “God-things.”

Are you involved in anything in which God has not directed you to be involved? Do you seek God about every decision, every action before you take it? This is where God wants you and me to be. Ask Him to show you how to walk with Him in this way.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

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As a child I had no problem believing the miracles of healing in the Bible.  However, my imagination stumbled over the passage where Jesus was about to make his final entry into Jeruselem.  Jesus said to his disciples, “Go to the town you can see there.  When you enter it, you will quickly find a donkey tied there with its colt.  Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone asks you why you are taking the donkeys, say that the Master needs them and he will send them at once (Matthew 21:2 and3).”

The logistics of this entire episode boggled my mind. I’m still mystified by this whole process.  Can you imagine the disciples’ discourse as they traveled to the city?  “Did he say what color the donkey would be?  What if there isn’t a donkey there?  What if we get there before the donkey gets there?  Do we wait or do we go back to Jesus?  What if the owner is gone and someone else sees us taking the animal and won’t let us take it?”  This could not have been a task that they enjoyed doing.  But they obeyed and the donkey was there. 

The logistics of our Christian walk is truly miraculous.  A few days ago, I got a call from a Hospice volunteer, Jack.  He called to verify that my husband wanted a visitor.  After a few minutes on the phone, Jack said, “I think I know you.  Are you the Linda Howard with Special Gathering?”   I told Jack yes and he continued, “We met through Patty when her husband and daughter died.” 

After her husband died perhaps seven years ago, Patty became a faithful volunteer whose daughter was a Special Gathering deacon and part of our choir.  About two years ago, the daughter died.  Patty and I have become good friends.  Even though she has moved to another state, I call her occasionally.  Patty and I had talked about Jack a few days before.  “Of course,” I said to Jack, “Patty and I were talking about you the other day.”

Jack came to our home last Monday.  Briefly, my husband, Jack and I talked.  Because I was preparing for a board meeting, I excused myself.  I needed to call Patty because she had agreed to serve on our board before she moved.  While talking with her, I decided that she would probably want to speak with Jack.  Walking back to the bedroom, I said to Patty, “I have someone here at my house that you would like to talk to” and I handed the phone to Jack.

They talked for a very long time.  Jack seemed pretty involved and concerned but they weren’t talking about anything important.  Finally, I was speaking to Patty again.  “Jack will be such a blessing to you and your husband,” said said.  “The Lord has used him so often in my life,” Patty said as she began to cry.

“Do you remember that this is the second anniversary of when my daughter died?” she asked me.  I did not remember.  “The Lord has sent Jack to me everytime I needed someone to encourage me since my husband died seven years ago.  I could not believe he was on the phone today.  I needed to be able to speak to him, today.”  Of course, by now, both of us were crying.

That night in my daily reading of Scriptures, I read Matthew 21.  The Lord quietly spoke to my heart, “I’ll always have the donkey at the right place when you need it and when I tell you to get it.”  Every ministry depends of logistical miracles.  Special needs ministry is even more important as we are dealing with parents and members who may be required to wrestle almost daily with crises. 

Remembering that the donkey will always be in the right place at the right time means that our task is simply listening and obeying.

Isn’t it amazing how quickly work can turn from great satisfaction to great frustration?  For the past week, I’ve been working to update The Special Gathering of Indian River data base.  It has been an exciting learning curve for me.  I truly enjoy stretching my mind and learning new things.  In the back of my mind, of course, there have been nagging concerns because I don’t really understand the overall picture of what I’m doing.  I’m learning the 1, 2, 3 steps but not understanding the overall picture.

Facing a deadline this afternoon, I labored this morning well ahead of time to meet the deadline.  Then I came to a screeching halt.  Several things with my husband took up more time than normal.  I returned to finish a simple task that I’ve done for 20 years.  However, I was working with the adjustments in our data base and I somehow doubled all my labels.  Instead of 425 labels, I ended up with 850, two of each label.  Unfortunately, because I was feeling the pressure of the deadline, I didn’t catch the mistake until I had printed all 850 labels.  I tried to redo the labels.  Again, they were doubled.

I redid the whole process.  Still, double labels.  Frustrated, I reworked the entire data base.  Doubles, again.  Finally, I returned to last month’s data and successfully did my labels.  By now, I was stressed and confused. 

As I drove to The Special Gathering office to deliver the newsletter and labels, I reviewed what–if anything–I had learned.  Here are several things which might help you.

  1. Complete the task as quickly and easily as possible. 
  2. Assume it is an OE (operator error) problem.   
  3. If you must, go back to older data or an older methods to complete the task.
  4. As soon as the job is completed, leave.
  5. You may not be able to leave your office, but leave the work area for a time.  Walk away from your desk.  Do a completely different task. Get a cup of tea or coffee. 
  6. Reward yourself.  Eat a piece of chocolate.  I went through a drive-thru restaurant window treating myself to my favorite fish sandwich.
  7. Find some soothing worship music to calm your spirit.
  8. Once you have cooled down a bit, review your mistakes and actions in your mind. 
  9. Try to understand what you could have done differently.
  10. If your review causes the stress to return, challenge your mind to jog away from the event, again. 
  11. Return to your review when you can objectively face the ministry problem.
  12. Pray and ask God to show you the mistakes and the way to correct your mistakes.

Even Jesus moved away from the stress of ministry, only to return stronger and more determined.  You will become exasperated at times; and you will be frustrated.  During these times, move away and allow God to heal your wounded spirit.

Have you seen the movie, Paying Forward?  It is about a young boy who starts a movement that spreads all over the world by helping someone whom you may not even know.  The person who receives the favor must then pay forward by doing something good for someone else.  It’s a tear-jerking, feel-good movie meant to touch your emotions and perhaps even motivate you to do good.

About 30 years ago, I started visiting nursing homes.  I did it for about five years.  I would dress our daughter in her prettiest dresses and take her with me.  She would smile and charm all the residents.  They would ooh and ahh over her for as long as we would stay.

My purpose was somewhat selfish.  We lived 400 miles from my parents’ home.  I realized that when the time came for them to have a need for care and concern because of their old age, I would not be around to do it.  However, I wanted to sow seeds in the lives of others to ensure that my parents would receive the care they would need.  As it turned out, my sister and her family became their caregivers.  I’ll be eternally grateful for the care they received.

Last night, my paying forward reaped six personal faces.  Brad Shea of Able House brought a group of six to play hymns for my husband and me.  The name of the instrumental quartet and the two singers is The Hymnsters.  There was a clarinet, violin and two guitars.  They were extremely gifted and in our family room, their music was truly magnificent.

Frank and I sang and cried because of their great kindness.  “But we are the ones who were blessed,” Shea said as they headed toward our front door, while surrounded by our thanks and praises. 

Of course, our lives have been filled with kind people who do kind things for us.  Yet, in this time of need and weakness, The Hymnsters act of love and goodwill took on larger proportions.  Being a person who shows love is sometimes as easy as showing up and doing what you love to do.  Within the mentally challenged community, our teachers and volunteers are the type of people who show up and do what they love to do.  It is a good thing to remind our members occasionally how important their ministry is. 

Ed is a Bible teacher in one of our programs.  He has been faithfully serving for more than 10 years.  He has come to teach his class a few days after a stroke and less than a week after major surgery.  Our members genuinely adore him.  Occasionally, I will explain something to one of the members of his class.  They will look at me with skepticism and reply, “I’ll ask Ed about that.”

As Ed pays forward, I am praying that God will richly bless him, as much as Ed is blessing them.

Sitting with my friend in Atlanta, she talked about “back timing.”  It is an entertainment term.  People who do scheduling for TV/movie shots and staging, depend on this method constantly.  I sat as she talked about how much “back timing” it must take for the Lord to get people set up for effective ministry. 

In a few minutes, I went to my papers that were sitting on her table.  On the top, I found a post-it note that read:

  1. 2:45am–get up/fix husband’s breakfast and lunch/put out snacks and medication, 
  2. 3:30am–put medication on Frank’s feet,
  3. 3:45am–leave the house,
  4. 5:00am–arrive at Orlando park/ride,
  5. 7:00am–plane leaves

I had started at 7am with my list and I had back timed my schedule to find out what time I needed to get up.  While I didn’t know that there was an “official” name for the technique, Special Gathering uses it constantly with our van routes and set up schedules.

I’m sure that you are also continually using “back timing” in your ministry.  However, if you haven’t discovered the marvel of this scheduling technique.  It will take out the headache of being late or rushed.  Use it and enjoy.

Today, I went to Atlanta by way of Charlotte, NC.  A dear friend died a few weeks ago.  For 20 years, my friend had said, “Linda is going to do my funeral.”  In her final letter to me last year, she reminded me that I had promised to do the service.  When her daughter wrote to me via Facebook, she asked if I could do the service.

Things didn’t work out for me to make the trip.  However, when the daughter expressed regret, I told her that I was coming to be with her and her family.  It may seem extravagant.  Yet, my friend sent cookies to my children when they were in college.  She sent my grandchildren gifts when they were born.  I owned her a debt of gratitude and love.  My husband agreed.

When I first met Phyllis, everyone–young and old–called her Mama.  I resisted out of my respect for my own mother.  Nevertheless, I succumbed because everyone called her Mama.  For about five years, I didn’t know her name.

I’ve always been grateful that my journey in life paralleled  Mama’s.  She was a full-time volunteer in the elementary school where my children attended.  Mama did vast musical productions involving hundred’s of children.  When I first met her, I thought she was a kook.  Within days, her tenacity and genius won me over when I saw her making exquisite oriental wigs for about 50 children out of paper tape, black yarn and broken cheap jewelry.  I saw her put her own comforts and money aside in order to give elementary-aged children the opportunity to gain the self-confidence and grace that comes from being on stage.

I pray that there are people within the mentally challenged community who are grateful that our lives’ journeys have moved in a parallel path.  While they have taught me so much about the Christian live, I’ve desired to be Christ’s vehicle for evangelism and discipleship.  At times, it isn’t in the sermons that we preach; but the lives that we live exhibit  the most lasting and effective model of what Jesus can do through a person fully desiring to serve him.

I’ve been asked several times this question.  This information is from the March of Dimes Website

Can people with Down syndrome have children?
With rare exceptions, men with Down syndrome cannot father a child (3). A woman with Down syndrome has a 50-50 chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome, but many affected fetuses are miscarried.

While people with developmental disabilities have a lower IQ than normal, their drive to procreate is not usually disabled.  This can be a concern with men and women but they manifest themselves in different ways.  It has been said by the experts there is a basic difference between men and women in regard to sexual activity.  Men will pretend intimacy (that they are in love) to get sexual favors.  While women will give sexual favors because they are in love (or to gain intimacy). 

 With our population, these are still the basic drives.  Men desire sexual activities; women desire intimacy.  Many years ago, two members of Special Gathering were engaged in a sexual relationship.  He was a man who had many, many girlfriends.  She was a large, younger woman with a quirky–often difficult–personality. 

When I asked this young woman why she would allow herself to be used by this man while they rode on the bus, she said, “He was very, very good to me when we first moved here.  He is the ONLY person who would speak to me.  He liked me and he was kind to me.  I love him.  I will do anything for him; anything he asks.”

The man often set his sights on women who were lonely and otherwise unattractive.  He had a “girl in every port.”  He was kind to lonely women and then he used them for his own sexual benefit.  The women desired someone to love and he showed them love.  They gladly gave themselves to him.

As a ministry head, this issue can be a deep, abiding concern because of the unique desires and needs of your members.  Sexual needs are valid and God given.  They cannot be ignored.  We can speak to this issue with delicacy and tact.  However, this isn’t an issue that we can or should ignore.  There are no boiler plate or simple templet answers that we can use or be taught.  We must know the Scriptures and then depend on God’s Holy Spirit to answer questions and meet the needs of your members.

You are invited to the Free APD waitlist quarterly forum & Dance.
October 2nd
Tavares civic center 100 East Caroline St. Tavares FL. 32778
Forum 9:00AM – 2:00PM Free Dance 2:00PM – 4:00PM

There will be Free refreshments & food during the event.

We will also be doing a FREE raffle for families on the waitlist. You can win FREE hours of Respite Service to help you and you loved ones. Also we will be giving away dozens of door prizes.

Guest speaker Jim DeBeaugrine Director of APD The Agency for persons with disabilities is scheduled to speak. He will be talking about current issues & the latest updates related to the APD agency,

Don’t be left in the dark.
Come talk to the people that can help you.

This is a Free event for everyone. The event gives you the opportunity to learn about resources & programs that can help you and your loved ones. Also a opportunity to speak out about your questions and concerns.

 

We are pleased to present this opportunity for first hand information. Get updates on current issues and future plans of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The Director Jim DeBeaugrine will be speaking, followed by a question and answer session. The FCC area 13 will be helping families with information. WaiverProvider.com will be telling families about FREE resources to help with information. Also with ways to help you speak out about your questions and concerns.

Jim DeBeaugrine

The Director of APD The Agency For Persons With Disabilities

www.apdcares.org

Owner of WaiverProvider.com & SupportCoordinators.com
Aaron Nangle
727-841-8943
Learn about ways for everyone to come together & unite. Making your voice heard.
www.WaiverProvider.com
&
www.SupportCoordinators.com
Isabel S de Martinez chairperson for the FCC area 13 
Isabel S de Martinez Chairperson FCC area 13

The american dream for all individuals with developmental disabilities
www.fccflorida.org

Note to Providers,

�� The Family Care Council area 13 is helping to host this Family Forum for families who are currently on the wait list. As you are aware the information provided at these events is invaluable to the families as they wait for services; however it has come to my attention over the years that the wait can, at times, feel like forever with no end in sight. Many of these families have spent 24 hours a day caring for their loved one without ever receiving Respite. I thought some of you could donate something tangible. Volunteering some respite hours would be appreciated more than you know. Thank you in advance for you help.

Preventive Behaviors & Solutions has already donated 50 hours of respite service for people on the waitlist. How many hours will you donate to people on the waitlist? Call Aaron Nangle and let him know. 727-841-8943

Thank you Sandy Dayton from FCC area 13

 

EVENT SPONSORED BY

WaiverProvider.com, APD area 13, FCC area 13, Delmarva Foundation, Moving Mountains, C Volkmann Consulting, Woodbury Products, Independent Mobility, Adept community services, Sunrise ARC, Preventive Behaviors & Solutions, Elite Home Medical Supplies,
Live Oak’s Building Inc., Tamara C Watkins Small

Many other company’s and organizations will be at the event to help provide you with information.

 

If you would like to have a table at the event call
Aaron Nangle 727-841-8943 or email
WaiverInfo@aol.com


WaiverProvider.com & SupportCoordinators.com 
727-841-8943
waiverinfo@aol.com
    Family Care Council Florida

352-208-6183
isabelfcc13@yahoo.com

 

I am not a Techno Babe.  (Okay, so I never was a Babe, but work with me here.)  Nevertheless, I try to keep up with the latest things in the electronic field.  For instance, I know that the Blog is a dinosaur of the distant past of 5 years ago.  Within the world of “what’s happenin’ now” five years is several technical generations past.

Because our ministry wasn’t Apple Ready until recently, I didn’t have any of the iFun and iExciting gadgets that others were gobbling up like iCandy.  I don’t play video games and I only listen to music in my car and I have a radio in my car.  The greatest Christian station in the world is in Orlando.  Therefore, I didn’t even have an iPod.

However, in March I got an iPhone because my phone died and only the iPhone could support the database program that we are currently using.  Last week, a ministry colleague bought me an iPad.  Now, I’m attempting to do things that others find extremely easy.  “Plug it into your computer and iTunes does everything,”  I’m told by the geek working in my friendly Apple store.  I plugged it into my computer and that didn’t work.  Therefore, I’m trying to learn how to do what should be the easiest thing in the world.

Couple with that, other distractions have invaded my life.  All this means that I’m attempting to work my way through a total iGlitch.  Of course, things will settle down but in the meantime I have iQuivers in my stomach and an enormous iHeadache.

Don’t get me wrong I love Apple.  We owned the Apple E, 2E and the first Macintosh. My husband has all the latest Apple products.   However, it’s been 20 years since I was told that Special Gathering worked with PC’s, not Mac.  Because I confuse easily and I loved the ease of using Apple products, I’ve resolutely stayed away from my husband’s equipment.  There was a bit of envy mixed into my resolve, as you probably suspected.

Each ministry needs to find the equipment that will help them to achieve the mission that God has called them to do.  With Special Gathering, we are evangelizing and discipling people who are mentally challenged.  God is working all things for my good.  The more I fail to understand what is happening; the more closely I identify with my members.  As we switch from all PC’s into the world of iWonders, I’ll keep you in touch with the transition in the form of iWhines and iComplaints.

Last week, my husband and I started on a new avenue of our lives.  All this week, people have been in and out of the house, moving furniture and bringing in equipment.  My husband has felt an extreme loss of control.  He is an extrovert.  Therefore, he would normally enjoy people in and out.  But this has been different.  Others are now making decisions that would normally be his to make.

Almost forty years ago he built a bed that was especially made for our bedroom.  The final indignity came when two men came and turned his bed on its side and brought in a hospital bed.  He  protested loudly but to no avail.  He wanted his bed back. 

Tonight, Brad Shea from Able House called, “Is there anything that I can do to help Frank?”  Shea has remodeled out home so that it is completely wheelchair accessible.  However, even professionals are surprised at the subtle and beautiful ways that Shea has incorporated that accessibility into our home.

Knowing Brad, I felt that he meant it so I didn’t hesitate.  “They turned Frank’s bed aside and put a hospital bed in his room.  The movers couldn’t get the bed out of the bedroom so it’s sitting on its side leaning against a wall.  I think if he didn’t have to look at his bed all day he would feel better about things.  I know that he would forget about it much more quickly.”

“I’ll be there tonight,” Brad said.  After working all day, Shea knocked on our door at 8pm and worked another hour to help a confused and distressed friend. 

After he left, my husband called me into his room.  “That was really nice, wasn’t it?”  Within minutes, he was asleep.  

While Frank has had a disability his entire life, we have not lived with that disability.  The disability has lived with us…in the backyard.  Frank has pushed himself, made demands on his body and it has obediently obeyed.  However, the years has caught up and now we live with his disability.  I can only imagine the decades that most of our family have experienced wherein a disability–any disability–has forced its way at the head of the table and demanded to be fed first. 

As he slept, I worked another two hours to bring order back into the rest of the house.  I find that when life demands that I do a balancing and juggling act at the same time, it is vital for there to be as much order in my life as possible.  It’s also good to know that God is in control of our lives–not a sickness.  We rejoice that our wonderful Savior cares enough about us to have a friend call and make a sincere offer of kindness and love.

It also helps to vent.  Thanks.

Women and men scream at the appearance of this tiny creature.  If you dare to look eye to eye with the insect, it resembles a monster from a science fiction TV show.  No matter what your fears or concerns are about a spider, everyone admits that the construction and architectural abilities of that tiny insect is nothing short of miraculous. 

However, Ori Brafman and Rod S. Beckstrom in their book, The Starfish and the Spider contend that the current forms of management are much more unlikely to succeed because they are constructed like a spider.  Their thesis says that if you cut off the leg of a spider, it is crippled.  If you cut off the head of a spider, it is dead.

While I haven’t read the book but merely listened to an interview on NPR about the book, I was fascinated with the interesting supposition set forth by the authors.  Their contention that an organization that is built about a strong head is eventually doomed to failure.  I have no idea whether Brafman and Beckstrom are Christians.  It is reasonable to assume that they are not.  However, I learned long ago that we can obtain wisdom from many sources.  In fact, I’ve always contended that if a fact is true, it is either scriptural or it does not contradict the scriptures because the Bible is true.

On hearing the spider analogy, my thoughts immediately jumped to The Special Gathering and other specialized ministries.  Richard Stimson, our executive director, has worked hard to NOT have a spider organization in this ministry.  He desired to gradually divorce the success of the ministry from himself.  This has been difficult for him because he realized that in the early decades of The Special Gathering, the Richard Stimson name was closely connected with the Special Gathering ministry brand. 

Other ministry founders have worked equally hard to keep their ministry branding as closely connected to them as possible.  There is great wisdom in this, especially at the starting point of a work for God.  Yet, there is a time for a break from the personalized branding of a special needs ministry if it is to grow and be maintained.

Years ago, there was an ongoing discussion regarding the need for decentralization and the succession of a ministry head.  One woman with a very successful ministry in a large church refuted that this was any concern.  “The Lord will take care of those details,” she would sternly rebuke the men or women who expressed concerns.  However, at a young age, she contracted cancer and died within a few months.  There are no one to take her place and the ministry is now dead.  It would be wonderful if this were an isolated case but we all know that it isn’t.  When any ministry is built around a personality, then it will usually fail when the person dies.

Jesus left this earth and delegated the spreading of the gospel to 11 men.  With the help and anointing of the Holy Spirit, the world was turned upside down within a few generations.  There is still much to do in specialized ministry.  Perhaps God is waiting for a few of us old spiders to realize that it’s time to raise up people who are called by God and desire to continue this important work.

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