Showing up. It’s a small action with a big impact. Showing up says, “You matter to me.” More than that, showing up says, “You matter.” And even more than that, showing up implies, “You matter to God.” It’s the beautiful reality that Jesus has tucked into a small group leader’s actions: You get to be a living demonstration of His love. The following is a first-hand account of how showing up can make a difference:
I am a stay-at-home mom of three. That means that life is crazy and fun and full of activities—especially in the fall. Sunday mornings are spent at church and Sunday nights are spent at flag football watching my oldest son, Tyler, who is 9.
Tyler’s season started two Sundays ago. Needless to say, from the moment he jumped out of his bunk bed that morning he was excited. I didn’t know it, but in his small group at church that day his prayer request was for his new team that he would be meeting that night.
Tyler’s small group leader’s name is Alex. (Coincidentally that’s also my daughter’s name—which is an important detail.) This is their 3rd year together. We love Mr. Alex, and every time my other kids and I go to pick up Austin from small group we hear, “AAALLLEEEXXXX!” It’s Mr. Alex’s attempt to get a rise out of my sweet, shy daughter with the same name who looks at him and smiles and will one day—we’re sure—yell back at him.
Well, fast-forward to football practice that night at the park. My husband was with Tyler helping coach. The other two kids and I made it to the park, found a spot in the grass to watch, and were enjoying being out in the fall weather. A few minutes later we heard, “AAAALLLLLEEEEXXXX!” I laughed and turned around to see Mr. Alex with two of his kids (one of whom is the co-leader of Austin’s small group). We laughed as my daughter Alex blushed and proceeded to chat about how good it was to see them, what a great day it was to be at the park, and how all the kids were doing, blah, blah, blah . . .
A few minutes later, Mr. Alex sat down with his crew and they got settled in the grass. What I began to realize is that we hadn’t just ran it to Mr. Alex at the park. Mr. Alex was here to watch my son play his 1st flag football game of the season. Well, my eyes immediately filled up as I stated the obvious . . . “You came here to watch Tyler?!”
“Oh, yeah! He was so excited this morning,” Alex answered. “We prayed for his team in small group and decided this afternoon we had to come!!!” Um, to a mom, you have no idea what this meant to me. Somebody else—someone that doesn’t have to—took time to invest in the life of my child. He cares for him, wants to see him succeed, wants to help him grow. Wants to be there. Wow. “Thank you” just doesn’t cover it.
I’ll never forget the look on Tyler’s face when he came to get water and looked up and saw Mr. Alex.
Tyler had a great night. The team had a lot of fun and he is excited for the season. But you can guess what Tyler said to me as I told him goodnight. Yep. “Mom, can you believe that Mr. Alex and Palmer came to my game tonight? SO AWESOME!”
Yes it was, buddy. Yes it was.