Along with eleven other people form our church (we include Steve, Jan and Kevin in that number!) Susan and I spent the last three days at the Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference. I know I say it every year (Susan and I have been attending the conference for the last ten years) but I have to say we thought this was the best one yet. Pete and Geri Scazzero agreed with our assessment. It was a very powerful, inspirational and life impacting time. Along with all the great material and sharing the journey with members of our church family we enjoy seeing and spending time with friends we have made from New Life and other churches over the past ten years. One of those friends is Kelly Ng, who is pictured above.
Kelly is one of the leaders at New Life, working in the marriage ministry and small groups. He is not a paid staff member but gives his time and talent that helps make New Life the very special and unique church that it is. Kelly is one of the nicest, warmest and most sincere people I have ever met. His smile is contagious and his hugs tell you that he cares and is genuinely glad to see you. He was the first “coach” that Susan and I ever had, sitting in and guiding us as we went through the first marriage conference ten years ago. He was gentle and insightful as we learned new materials and new skills and tools to enhance our marriage.
One of the reasons that Susan and I were so touched by the ministry of New Life and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality was that we had never witnessed a church living so authentically and honestly. Not even our own church! Not only were the people at New Life nice but they were not afraid to share and express their feelings and inner lives. At one point in that first conference Kelly and his wonderful wife Shirley shared a deep wound they were working through in their marriage. They were honest, vulnerable and allowed their raw emotions to be on display in front of hundreds of people. During the course of this past week another couple sat on that same stage and also shared a deep wound they were working through. When I approached them afterwards and asked where they got the courage to do that they explained that they also had seen Kelly and Shirley on that same stage ten years before inviting us into their pain and open wound and it changed their lives forever. And I thought, if Susan and I and Felipe and his wife were so impacted, how many people who attended that conference 10 years ago were affected the same way?
You never know how you will influence other people. You never know how what you say or how you act or what you do will be interpreted by others. But I imagine that if you smile big, give warm hugs, are genuine in your care and concern, live authentically, are honest and secure in sharing your feelings, are willing to be vulnerable and let the love of Jesus shine through that you will positively influence an untold number of people. You may even change their lives. Ten years later they may still be talking about you. Kelly once said to us: “I would rather have people not like me for who I am than to love me for who I pretend to be.” I love Kelly for who he is. And I know the Lord honors him as His witness in this world.
Wouldn’t it be great to live in such a way that people feel compelled to write about your influence and impact in their lives ten years from now?
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?
Note: I am actually interested in hearing what you think and feel. Your responses are appreciated. And they are private. So feel free to respond with your thoughts and your own reflections to What Do You Think?