CHURCH & MINISTRY
Thanks for the Decade!
By Jeff Laird
Ten years ago today, Facebook was only two months old, Gmail had been active for just over a week, and YouTube wouldn't be around for another year. I was barely out of college, childless, two months away from being married, and had zero practical experience in writing or counseling. I was freshly involved in Christian apologetics, after a long period of seriously questioning what I believed and why. A few days prior, I'd come across a website offering answers to spiritual questions, and had volunteered to help them respond to personal requests. On April 9th, 2004, I submitted my first response for Got Questions ministries. I didn't realize at the time how important that connection would become.
It's cliché to say a lot has happened since then, but some things become cliché for a reason. Over the past decade, I've managed to stay married, fathered two children, bought a house, and adopted a rather troubled dog. I went through over 9 straight months of unemployment, followed immediately by several months working 90 hours a week. Ministry opportunities have come and gone, as have friends and family members. Hobbies and interests were sacrificed for the sake of kids and career. New opportunities and fresh trials are a continual cycle.
Through all of that, Got Questions emerged as the foundation of my ministry life. I always appreciated the opportunity to serve, but I quickly recognized the tangible, personal impact of answering a person's spiritual questions. Deadlines and accountability forced me to research, understand, and explain issues I might never have even thought of otherwise. What I learned as I worked with Got Questions gave me the confidence to pursue deeper and deeper knowledge. Even when other ministries occupied more time, I always felt compelled to prioritize my service with Got Questions.
Numbers don't mean much to some people, but I'm a compulsive counter. My files indicate that I've been with Got Questions for ten years, dozens of articles, hundreds of answers, and close to a half-million written words. I've been around long enough to see it grow from 4 million yearly visitors to 60 million, while accumulating over 800,000 professions of new faith in Christ. But more meaningful than numbers, even to me, is reflecting on the experience gained through this particular type of service. It's not only been a blessing to have the opportunity to serve others, but serving has blessed me. It's assisted a richer understanding of the Word and how it applies to life. What I've learned working with Got Questions has made me a better apologist, even as what I've learned as an apologist has helped me serve with Got Questions.
Another key lesson learned was the importance of the "home guard". When David split his troops in 1 Samuel 30, the ones who actually fought in battle claimed that they deserved more credit than those who guarded the home base. David rejected that claim, giving equal credit to those watching their backs (1 Samuel 30:24). Without them, the front line warriors wouldn't have accomplished much. Without my wife keeping loose ends tied together, I wouldn't be able to serve nearly as effectively, if at all. Everyone serving in ministry needs to recognize that success is never "mine", it's always "ours". And those who've benefitted from this ministry should know there are an awful lot of people, behind the scenes, involved in every answer, article, and email.
My thanks to Got Questions for the continued chance to serve. The impact of this ministry is greater than most people realize, both for those who participate, and those who've sought out answers. It's made a profound difference in my life, my personal ministry, and my spiritual walk. I'm looking forward to looking back on what the future reveals!
Image note: Many wonder if the head-scratching guy is our founder, S. Michael Houdmann. Others guess Steve Carell. It's neither. Much to S. Michael's annoyance, the staff often refers to him as "the dandruff guy."
Tags: Christian-Life | Got-Questions? | Ministry-Church | Personal-Life
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