Friday, May 6, 2016

I Love This Place!

It was one of those rare occasions when I was running ahead of schedule for a fundraiser on behalf of Global Hope held in downtown Denver on a Friday night. There is no better way for me to kill time than journaling my day while sitting at Starbucks!

Conveniently, 16th Street Mall is a bustling mecca for afternoon coffee. The restaurant is jumping and I commit a suburban sin – I sit with a complete stranger at a two-seater table.

"Hi!” with a sparkle in her thinly parted eyes, “I’m Noona.”

Oh great, I thought, of all the people in downtown Denver I’m stuck with a talker. It gets worse- fast. Her first question is, “what do you do?” I’m leery to reveal what I do too soon in a conversation because too often my job is a conversation stopper. People are strangely tight-lipped and reserved once I go on record with my occupation. It’s really entertaining when my job is undisclosed and people are simply being themselves with me instead of being guarded. Too tired to play my usual guessing game regarding my work I profess, “I’m a pastor.” Her reply, “How do you make a difference in the world?”

This follow-up question is either very profound or stupid I thought. Sarcastically my mind went there. Is this lady pulling my leg? Surely, at what appears to be seventy-plus years of living she has heard of a pastor. I played it straight. “I’m glad you asked (not really). Here’s what I do”:

I lead an organization that allows people to collectively change the world- an opportunity and sometimes a person, at a time! The event I’m headed to in a moment was founded at my church twenty years ago and it cares for over 450 abandoned children in places as far away as Kenya, India and Romania. We serve more than 15,000 hot meals to the homeless in Denver with food prepared by our volunteers at our church’s kitchen. We teach people Jesus loves them and people believe us. And yes, I know my leadership of this adventure is making a difference.

Her reply, “that’s impressive! Here’s my phone number, maybe I can help you. I like making a difference too and often I’m sent to random places and meet interesting people to do so.”

By scoring her digits I’m convinced that Noona, at the very least, considers us interesting. For me, this pop quiz was a gut check on the question we’ve all asked ourselves “does what I do matter?” Broomfield United Methodist Church lives its mission to worship God, grow with God and share God with others because of readers like you. I’m eternally grateful for your trust in me as a leader and privileged beyond words to have spent the past dozen years serving Jesus with you. Together our vision to make community in the image of Jesus is not lip service nor a pity slogan. You’re real. We’re real. And we are making a difference in real lives. Thank you for serving Christ with me!

We always thank God for all of you when we mention you constantly in our prayers. 3 This is because we remember your work that comes from faith, your effort that comes from love, and your perseverance that comes from hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. 4 Brothers and sisters, you are loved by God, and we know that he has chosen you -1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 (CEB)

Ken Brown is the senior pastor at BUMC. You can contact him at

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