When I started writing these columns several years ago, I was unprepared for the extensive readership they would have. I had thought I might be able to reach into a few homes and generate some comments; but I have been amazed at the effect of these some-of-the-time well-chosen words on paper.
Through the internet, these columns have gone literally around the world at the speed of live; and across town at the speed of home delivery and street sales. Either way, it has been a fantastic ride; and my ticket is still punched for more. Bring it!
I am reminded of a radio ministry I had several years ago; called “The Sunday School of the Air”. I started that work in 1968 as a Sunday School Lesson for the sick and shut-ins in the listening area of WLIK; but, when I left for Seminary, I gave it to Gene Shoemaker and Jerry Phillips; and they kept it going.
Unfortunately, it isn’t being broadcast at this time; but the idea is still viable, as the lesson went into homes and hospitals and vehicles and nursing homes all around the area.
I took the idea with me when I left for Morgan County in 1987; and established it as a tape recorded lesson for our church shut-ins. I delivered the tapes of the next Sunday’s lesson every Friday; and, as God would have it, it began to grow. Let me tell you about just one of the tapes.
I delivered it to a lady who lived two blocks from our home in Wartburg. She listened to it and dropped it in the mail to a brother in Ohio; who listened to it and dropped it in the mail to a cousin in Texas; who listened to it and dropped it in the mail to a child in Germany; who listened to it and dropped it in the mail to an in-law in Nevada; who listened to it and dropped it in the mail to a friend — in the next town up the road from where we lived!
That lesson was literally going around the world in mail delivery planes, trains, trucks, and cars; and families were listening to a recorded Sunday school lesson about five – six weeks after the fact – but still getting blessed by the Word of God; and it ended up about ten miles from where it started.
I heard about it when I was called upon to perform a funeral service for a family who “considered me as their pastor” even though I did not know them personally – because they had been listening to my recordings for over a year in the next town up the highway!
You might think I could have simply sent that family a tape that was “on time” and stop all that passing it from home to home – but that would not have been right! No! They needed to pass it on; because that is part of our “Great Commission” – to pass the Word along – any way and every way we can!
The same thing happens with this column; as people cut it out and send it to this loved one or that kin folk. Some get it over the internet that you and I send out. Some get it by subscription to the “Plain Talk.” Some buy it on the street. Some read it in the barber shops and beauty shops.
Either way, it is going from person to person; and I remain committed to making it as interesting as possible – while staying true to my “Great Commission” that Jesus Christ is the answer!
Pretty neat, the way the Lord works, huh?
The key is to be willing to be used; and He will use you. Maybe you can’t write a column or tape a lesson; but what can you do? Whatever it is – do it for the glory of God; and He will use you. I was counting up the people that make the Sunday morning service at West End Baptist Church “go”; and amazingly, it tallied up to over 75 people – all necessary to some aspect of the morning service – whether singing and playing music, teaching, broadcasting, preaching, ushering, greeting, nursery keeping, cleaning, etc, etc. One of those people doesn’t show up, that area of the ministry suffers!
So, what can you do? Do it; and let God have the glory!
Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor to Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and writes this column for the Thursday and Weekend Editions of The “Newport Plain Talk”. Contact Mooty at P.O. Box 851 in Newport; or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments.