Today’s post is a guest post written by another average Pastor in Broken Arrow, Tommy McLaurin. He tried something big and I asked him to share his story. Don’t be afraid to try something BIG!
It was just a small, black and white stuffed cow. I had seen them before – on every kind of Chick-fil-A advertisement you could imagine – those cows that held the signs, “Eat mor Chickn” (cows can’t spell very good). But this cow had a different message: “How can I serve you?” hung around its neck. It got my attention. Successful Christian businessman and owner of 2 Tulsa area Chick-fil-A restaurants, Arthur Greeno, had just spoken to the Broken Arrow ministerial alliance. He had shared his testimony and I had been inspired. I said to myself, “One of these days I’m gonna preach a series of sermons on serving and I’m gonna invite Arthur to come to our church for the final service in the series.
Fast forward almost a year. I began that sermon series and entitled it “Improving Your Serve”. After the first Sunday, I called Arthur Greeno, introduced myself and said, “You don’t know it yet, but you are going to be speaking at my church.” I admit, that was a pretty bold statement. Arthur didn’t know me from Adam’s housecat. And it isn’t like I pastor some great megachurch where he would be honored to speak to thousands. I pastor a small church – a “second campus” of SpiritLife Church located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Our largest attendance ever had been this past Easter when we welcomed 76 worshippers to celebrate the risen Savior. Now I’m inviting a busy man, a 2-time Guinness world record holder, to put the capstone on this series where week by week I challenged our church to step out of our comfort zone and follow the example of Christ who came, not to be served, but to serve. Arthur said yes! And then I said, “I know you are all about doing big things, let’s make this a big day. Any ideas?”
Immediately he asked me if I had heard of Keith’s Ice-Cold Lemonade Stand. He went on to tell me about this amazing, inspiring 10 year old who had approached him with a dream to raise money for The Little Lighthouse selling lemonade. Arthur and Keith had set a goal that together they would raise $250,000 for the Little Lighthouse giving away lemonade.
By the way, Keith cannot walk or talk. He depends on a wheelchair and a computer that speaks for him. But Keith isn’t making excuses, he’s making a difference. I jumped at the possibility that both Arthur and Keith, both incredible examples of community servants, would come to my church. It even made the BA paper (Read Story).
Three weeks ago the big day finally arrived. Both Arthur Greeno and Keith Boyd inspired and encouraged our congregation with their servant hearts. We set up the Lemonade Stand and gave away the lemonade. And we improved our serve as we collected $1100, not for us, not for our building fund, but for a real need in our community – helping Keith raise that $250k for The Little Lighthouse. I guess you could say our “little lighthouse” blessed another “little lighthouse”. It was an awesome day and we even reached a new high attendance – in the middle of the summer no less!
We continue to improve our serve, partnering with Broken Arrow Neighbors and the BA police department to provide school supplies to our neighborhood children, making 1600 “salvation bracelets” one Wednesday evening so that Missionary Kerry Mauldin can take them to India this fall, and reaching out to our community with our first annual children’s summer crusade. My name is Tommy, and I pastor an average church. But as we put our focus on serving our community rather than building our own kingdom, we are making a big difference!
Tommy McLaurin is the Lead Pastor of SpiritLife Church, BA campus and serves as Executive Pastor of the multi-campus ministry. He is a graduate of Emmanuel Bible College in Georgia, and holds a Master’s Degree from Southwestern Christian University in OK City. His is an ordained minister with 30 years of pastoral experience, serving mostly in the small church. Tommy is married to Carol, his wife of 29 years. Together they have 2 daughters and a granddaughter, Hannah, granddaddy’s little punkin’ head. www.myspiritlife.tv or www.facebook.com/spiritlifeforestridge