I spent a couple of hours with some old friends one morning during Annual Conference. In almost 40 years of going to Annual Conference, it was the first time I skipped sessions to sit and talk with friends.
These friends are not old in terms of age – they are my age and I will admit to being middle-aged, but I am certainly NOT old! They are old friends because I have known them since I was 15. When you see people again that you have known for so long, you speak the same language. We have to catch up on things that have happened since we last saw each other, but we have a common core of experience and history that lets us catch up using a kind of shorthand.
One friend lives in TN where he cares for a special needs daughter and an elderly mother while his wife fulfills her calling working for the General Church. The other friend is a professor at Princeton Seminary, living in an empty nest with her husband. She has written several books, does research, and is a featured speaker who is in constant demand. I have the most “normal” calling out of the three of us – at least, I did until I retired on Monday! It was wonderful to talk to both of them.
During conference, Kenda gave a powerful keynote address on the importance of passing on our faith. She referred to it as “the bucket brigade of faith.” We pass our faith from one person to another when we authentically share or live out our faith in ways that others can see it. We encourage their growth in faith and give them confidence to live out and grow their own faith.
Because we met as teenagers serving in leadership with the Conference Youth, Kenda, Ron, and I share some of the same people I our bucket brigades. These were adults who believed in us, encouraged us in our ministry, and shared their faith with us. We laughed about Father John and shared memories of how other adults gave us the audacious belief that we could make a difference for Jesus in the world and in the church. The three of us have carried those buckets and passed them on to others in the 40 years since the buckets were first handed to us.
We are thankful for those who passed their buckets of faith to us. Who has handed you a bucket of faith? Who has been part of your bucket brigade? To whom have you passed your bucket?
Thank God for these faithful people in your life. Even better, write them or talk to them and let them know that they have blessed you by handing the bucket of their faith on to you.