When I was much younger and the Youth Minister at Parkview Baptist Church I was blessed of God to have the most amazing suite-mates ever. Really, I loved and still do love these people. Jessica Lawrence, Megan Kelly, T. Alan Lusk (I still don’t feel cool enough to just call him “T”), Clint Barron, Josh Causey and most, important of all, Jonathan Whilmore were the main ones but there were other interns that also a part of the room for shorter time periods that I also loved (that right I am talking about you Lauren Joyner, Scott Brignac, and Chris Mouhot). My study was connected with theirs and so I spent a great amount of time with them all.
These are people that I madly respected at the time and they have just grown in my respect level in the years that I have been gone from Baton Rouge. Not only were they amazingly creative, incredibly faithful, sacrificially loving, and great risk takers, but they were also just plain fun people to hang out with. It seemed like we were always taking a break from work to do something interesting. I loved working with them and hanging out with them. There was a reason that Pam would often drop by the suite and it wasn’t me … she liked hanging out with these people too. Most surprising of all is that in the midst of the fun of working with these amazing people we were actually able to get a lot of work done at the same time. Not the brag but I believe that as a group we led one of the most amazing youth ministries ever known and I got to work along side quite possibly the best college ministry ever.
One of the things that I liked (and still do like about them) about the suite was the fact that I could use them as critical ears. When I was working on a message my suite-mates were generous enough to allow me to interrupt their work and ask them questions and run things past them. They were always a huge help. They helped me to see things with different eyes and hear things with different ears. This was huge for me and truthfully it still is. I need to bounce ideas off of other people. I need people who I can trust to think critically and deep on subjects. My suite-mates were just such people.
Unfortunately I don’t have the suite anymore. I miss them often for their friendship but I also miss them for willingness to let me pick their brains. Thankfully I have a new group of people who are generous enough to allow me to run things past them. If anything I do it even more now than I did when I was at Parkview and with a greater variety of people. It is just that now my questions are directed at my friends at Emy J’s and people in Tapestry. For example, I just quizzed the barista that I know the best concerning what comes to her mind when she hears the words “antichrist” because this Sunday in Tapestry’s Sunday night worship gathering we will be discussing 1 John 2:18-29. I am so thankful that I still have a group of people that are willing to lend me their eyes and ears. I am even more thankful that some of my new lenders of eyes and ears aren’t a part of any organized religious practice and yet still aren’t afraid to help me with my sermons.
Now if I could just convince the people at Emy J’s to go “reverse Halloweening” with me then everything would be great.
SIDE NOTE – “reverse Halloweening” is something the suite did on Halloween that started because we were worn out and needed a break. We dressed in costumes and visited every office in the church (this was a large church) and gave them candy. Really a ton of fun.