Last Friday night our church had an outdoor movie night. Our church is blessed to have an outdoor venue called “The Grove” that features a stage, great sound system, and a high definition jumbotron like the ones you see at stadiums. People come in cars and golf carts—with chairs and blankets—to watch a great concert or movie.  Recently our church paid for the rights to show the movie “I Can Only Imagine” which details the real-life drama of a young songwriter and his abusive dad who, later in life, experienced a transformational relationship with God.

Our church is filled with gifted volunteers who make the Grove movies and concerts possible. From parking help and tech crews to popcorn and refreshments preparers and servers, people willingly serve with a smile. Before each event, we gather to pray, and that night I led a brief time of prayer with various teams of people before the event.  In our prayer time, we asked God to use this event to make a difference in the lives of the people who attended. The attendance at the event was great, and I spent my time making sure everything was running smoothly but inside and outside.

At the midpoint of the movie I went to the commons area near the kitchen and saw a man talking to our refreshment team. He was new to the area—only 5 days—and shared how a day earlier a member of our church invited him to come to the movie when they met while walking. Not knowing where the church was located, his realtor offered to lead him by car to the church campus just before the movie started. He was profoundly moved by what he saw on the screen and shared how his story was similar to the father in the film, as an alcohol addiction had driven a wedge between him and his family.

As I listened, I silently asked God for wisdom for how to help this man. Immediately I thought of Bob, one of the parking volunteers with whom I had prayed earlier. At a staff meeting a few days earlier our lead pastor told us of Bob’s desire to reach out to people who are addicted to alcohol. So I briefly excused myself from the group and went outside to find Bob. In a sea of people, cars, and golf carts, I spotted Bob within seconds. Almost immediately Bob looked over at me, and I pointed to the door to the commons area. Bob jumped up and came to me. I said to him, “I think God has a ministry for you in the commons.”  Bob went inside and then spent a long time listening and talking to the man. After the movie, Bob and his wife offered to lead the man back to his house that was located near where they lived.

Bob later told me that he thought he was coming to serve as a parking attendant, but God had other plans for him.

Now I don’t know the end of this man’s story, but I do know this: Sometimes God calls us to simply be a link in His chain to reach someone.   I reflected on the chain that brought the man to Bob:

  • Our lead Pastor who informed our staff earlier in the week about Bob’s desire for a ministry to people addicted to alcohol;
  • Bob saying “yes” to serve as a parking attendant at a movie night;
  • The person from our church who spoke with the man while on a block walk and invited him to come to the movie;
  • The prayer time with volunteers before the movie inviting God to do His work in and through us;
  • The realtor who helped lead the man by car to our church campus so he could see the movie;
  • The refreshment people who served and listened to the man;
  • My small part in finding Bob in the crowd and pointing him to the man;
  • And Bob saying “yes” again to God’s call to spend time with the man.

I’m sure there are many more links in this chain—before and after the ones I listed. God loves to call Christ-followers to be part of his kingdom-building chain, one person at a time.   We don’t always have to “do it all” when we come across someone in need. It may be that God simply asks us to be a small link in His chain to reach someone. We need to know when to keep going and when to hand the baton of ministry to someone else who could be the next link in God’s chain.

In the famous parable Jesus told people, The Good Samaritan did his part by binding up a man that violent robbers left for dead. The Samaritan then personally brought the wounded man to an inn where he could recover and then stayed and cared for him overnight. The next day, according to Jesus’ parable, the Samaritan moved on after instructing and paying the innkeeper to take care of the man (You can read the whole story in Luke 10:25-37).

Like the Samaritan, we need to be faithful in serving when God calls us and just as faithful in handing off the baton and moving on when it’s someone else’s turn to serve. Just as the innkeeper was part of Jesus story of restoring the man, God may call someone after you to be the next link in his salvation story for someone.

Worshipping God with every fiber of our being involves keeping our spiritual antenna tuned and obedient to His promptings— because we are integral parts of His kingdom building chain!

God bless you!

Chris Atkins