A Job During Quarantine
I’ve been on staff at Redemption for three months now. For me, this was not just a job that I applied for and got. It was a season of walking by faith and experiencing a call from God himself. I wanted to share with you some of that backstory. It’s one of the little stories in the bigger story of how God is at work forming a new church among us.
After an eight year hiatus from formal ministry, I was happy at my church where I had been volunteering. Something shifted though and I began to desire to go back to work. It seemed so tricky and impossible though. My life calling, what I REALLY do, is children’s ministry. I guess I could pivot and use those skills in another market somehow but my true passion is children’s ministry specifically in the context of church planting. So in order to go back to work, I would need to find a church plant, near my home that was a church my whole family would want to move to. It is kind of a magical rainbow unicorn type situation and my mind boggled when the desire to go back to work would wash over me. All I could think of was “How?” It seemed so impossible.
Deep in my heart I am a missionary. I got to live out that dream formally for a few years in Bangkok where I was tasked with starting a children’s ministry from scratch. That is a story for another time, but God showed up and the kids clubs that we started are still up and running 15 years later. It was an experience of God’s power that continues to give me faith to take on new challenges today. That part of my heart was given a rest for several years when I married and had five children. I still volunteered and reached out to neighbors, but it was all very informal. As my church grew and took on a building project, I felt like it was time for me to venture out and take on a new challenge.
In the fall of 2019 I received a text message from a friend telling me about a part time opportunity with a church plant in my own town of Kirkwood. After praying about it and talking to my husband, I was updated my resume and threw my hat in the ring. That was January. After my first interview in a Kirkwood coffee shop, the lead pastor Cory told me that he “hired slow”. His first time line was March. Well I cycled through a few more rounds of interviews and then we all know what happened in March. The interview process was paused as the nation shifted into quarantine.
During Quarantine I continued to listen to Cory’s sermons and get to know Redemption church through their digital presence. During one sermon, just after Easter he was preaching about how Jesus did not travel to heal Lazarus right away. He waited. He waited so long that Lazarus died. Once Jesus did arrive, he called Lazarus out of the tomb and resurrected him. The main point of the sermon was “delayed does not mean denied”. As Cory repeated his main point several times in a row I began to get a feeling like he was talking directly to me, or to be more direct, that God was speaking directly to me. I was certainly delayed in my pursuit of the new staff position at Redemption. I wondered if I would not be denied. I wondered if in fact, God waited until we were in the tomb of quarantine to call me back into full time ministry for His purposes and for His glory.
After a few more rounds of interviews, I was offered the call to serve on staff as the Director of Redemption Kids. My first day was May 4, two months into quarantine. Everything was digital and I had a completely uncharted path to walk. That was okay though. It felt a lot like my days as a missionary in Bangkok. I never though that God would call me back into a challenge like that in my own cultural context, but the challenges of this context have parallels to the mission field. Instead of cultural barriers, we have the barriers created by varying levels of comfort emerging from quarantine. Instead of language barriers, we have the digital format to learn and master. The challenge is enough to motivate me, but the needs of the children are completely the same. Whether here or in Bangkok, children need to be brought together to experience Christian community and learn the life changing truth that God loves them and made them for a purpose. Here in this next calling I’m living out the truth that delayed does not mean denied. God is at work in this season of quarantine. He still speaks and calls us forth into life.
- Graham Behnke