Harmony Hensley: God’s Grace in the Voice Mail

One of the things I dread most in my day to day routine is the task of managing voice mails.  Though I love to communicate and connect with folks for some reason voice mail has always been something that I’ve struggled to be excited about.   But today I listened to two voicemails that caused me to pause and reflect on the awesome ways that God moves.

Each fall since 2008, Vineyard Cincinnati has transformed its campus for one evening to roll out the red carpet (literally) and welcome upwards of 1,000 adults with special needs for our Prom Outreach.  Though this year will mark our 5th Prom (and we’ve hosted 2 luaus of similar size and scope) I have to say there are still moments in the midst of the madness that take my breath away, and humble me.  Today that came in the form of a couple of voicemails.

We typically have folks begin to call us about registering for the Prom the day after the outreach itself is over.  They don’t even let the dust settle on their suits and gowns before they start counting down the days until they can once again grace the red carpet and rock the dance floor.  For months we’ve kindly reminded guests who call that registration won’t open until the first week of August.

So even though Monday marked the beginning of “just another week” for you and me, it was something more for hundreds of eager folks in our community.  It meant its Prom season, and registration would be open.  And so begin the HUNDREDS of voice mails.

Today I began my day with a quiet voice mail where I could hear a young man rehearsing a script he had carefully planned out.  As he whispered through the words, slowly and carefully I could sense how important it was to him to get the message just right.  The voice mail ended and I could hardly make out what he was saying.  Minutes later I received a second voice mail.  Much louder, as this one was not for practice, but he wanted to make sure I knew that he would like to attend the Prom on Friday September 30th with his girlfriend Maria (he made sure to spell her name out very carefully for me “ M-A-R-I-A”).  Unfortunately, in his excitement as the message came to a close he let out a giant sigh and said “okay call me back THANK YOU!!!” and hung up – without leaving his number.

I listened to the message again and just smiled.  I was reminded that sometimes in ministry we get so caught up in the litany of tasks and events that we execute that we lose sight of the real impact they have on those we serve.  The Prom isn’t just a party.  It’s a night where the playing field is level, the kingdom advances, and a people who have been marginalized and often forgotten are celebrated.  So it only makes sense that our friends would begin counting down the days for their next dance the moment the DJ stops the music.  They thirst for the same thing you and I do – to belong.

In the coming weeks I will be inundated with voice mail.  Though there are an army of incredible volunteers who help us return calls and see to it that each person gets registered for the event I always make sure I stop and listen to a few messages.  I need those reminders that God has been so gracious to allow me to be a part of advancing this little corner of the kingdom.   That simple voicemail foreshadows the great things to come.  It signals that that magical moment each year when my friends and I make our way to the center of the packed dance floor to bear witness to our very own slice of heaven is just around the corner.

If you would like more information about how to host your own Prom or Luau Outreach please feel free to contact me….or join us on the red carpet Friday September 30th.

Harmony Hensley currently serves as Pastor and Director of Outreach and Inclusion at Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, OH. She also serves as a highly valued member of our team at Key Ministry. Harmony has had the opportunity to speak this year at the Orange Conference, the Accessibility Summit and the Children’s Ministry Telesummit. We have every confidence that she’ll demonstrate the same degree of excellence as a Mom later this month that she’s demonstrated to this point in ministry.

Harmony can be reached at hhensley@vineyardcincinnati.com. For more information on this year’s Prom, click here.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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