My Favorite Part of Emmanuel
Before I worked at Emmanuel, I was a 911 paramedic. Before I was a medic, I was a lifeguard. (I enjoyed helping people, but I couldn’t swim that well, so working on the ambulance was a better fit.) At one pool I guarded for, they held swim lessons for very little children. These lessons were intended to take kids who could not swim and teach them how to swim. There would always be a swim instructor in addition to a lifeguard being on duty. Usually each class had 4-8 kids in each class.
One day, I was walking into work and into lots of commotion. This is what happened.
There was a swim lesson going on, and while the teacher and lifeguard was looking away, one of the kiddos swam away from the rest of the group… then started to drown. Luckily, one of the parents was attending the lesson and saw the child in distress. This mother jumped right into the pool, clothes, cell phone and wallet and all. She pulled the kiddo to safety. She saved their life.
This mother did not need to be lifeguard certified, or have a licence to teach swim lessons. Not that lifeguards or teachers are unimportant, but she just needed to know that one of her children was going to die, and she could do something that would make a difference.
EBC members are like the mother who jumped in to save her downing child. They value good teaching and leadership, at the same time, they are willing to live out their faith everyday, even if it means getting their feet wet. They feel that knowing, preserving, and sharing the good news about Jesus is not just the job of the pastor, it is the job of all the church members. I love these lines from the church covenant:
…we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully covenant with one another, as one body in Christ, to lead a life worthy of the Lord fully pleasing to Him… We engage to strive together for both the peace and the purity of this church… in the measure that God prospers each of us that the responsibility for the work of the local church and the world-wide ministry of spreading the gospel be faithfully and effectively discharged.
This is backed up by what the Bible outlines as a church member’ s responsibility. Paul, in one of his earliest letters expects the whole church (not just the pastors) to know what is truth and what is a lie. Similarly, Peter writing to the whole church, expects them to be able to share their faith in everyday life.
Thank you, members of Emmanuel for living out a such a great example. I will never forget you.