Ten years ago tonight, between the 7 PM and 9 PM services on Christmas Eve, several leaders of Bay Presbyterian Church met in Hu Auburn’s office to sign the articles of incorporation for a ministry organization inspired by a big idea from the (then) youngest member of the College of Elders that BPC’s efforts to welcome kids with “hidden disabilities” could be replicated in thousands of churches around the country and around the world.
The church helped nurture and care for the fledgling organization, as it did for others…and continues to do. Hu came up with the name “Key Ministry,” served as Vice President of the Board for the first eight years, and helped recruit other leaders from the church to help with the startup, including his wife (Jan) to serve as our first Executive Director. Our first Board was made up entirely of Bay Presbyterians…Dave McKee, Ed Moore, Kevin Kelley, joined Hu, Jan and myself, with Julie Jones joining shortly thereafter.
Key Ministry’s resources, website and online ministry training events have been accessed by pastors, church staff, volunteers and families in at least 139 different countries since the beginning of 2012.
Our ministry blogs have had over 322,000 page views in 2012 alone.
Our team has hosted two free, worldwide, Special Needs Ministry Web Summits in the last fourteen months, featuring prominent leaders from a broad range of organizations involved in ministry to children, youth and families impacted by disabilities. The video presentations from Inclusion Fusion are being used to build a free, disability ministry video training library, housed within the Key Ministry website.
Key Ministry staff and volunteers hosted events and spoke at regional, national and international ministry conferences in ten different states across the U.S. in 2012, during which we had the opportunity to train leaders from literally hundreds of churches representing a broad range of denominations.
We have completed, and are in the process of beta testing the new FREERESPITE website. We’re hoping to add 100 churches to the movement among Christ-honoring churches to provide free, high quality respite care for kids with disabilities and their “typical” siblings during 2013, and hundreds more in years to come.
Obviously, all of this is God’s doing, but Key Ministry is a part of the ongoing spiritual legacy He is establishing through the ministry of the people of Bay Presbyterian Church. This is YOURS…a small part of the fruit that continues to grow from your faithfulness.
I’m extraordinarily grateful for the trust the leaders of the church showed in me when I presented them with a very audacious idea accompanied by the conviction that we were being presented the opportunity to take on a “God thing”…something bigger than we could accomplish through our natural talents and abilities. I can’t imagine a greater honor than the opportunity to play for God’s team as He goes about the work of reestablishing His Kingdom here on Earth. I’ve been blessed to be part of a church in which ministry is not a privilege reserved for those with staff positions or seminary degrees, but a responsibility and an opportunity available to all of God’s people. The willingness of BPC to resource and support those who feel led to be “entrepreneurs for Christ” is a very special and all too rare thing in the larger church. Regardless of the role God has in mind for me in the future with Key Ministry, I very much want to help other people get the chance you offered me to pursue the “God things” He places before us.
I’m also very grateful for the extraordinary encouragement and support I’ve received from people in the church through the struggles and obstacles I’ve faced in my position with Key Ministry over the past ten years. There were a few Sunday mornings when this was the only place I could go where I felt wanted…like my presence mattered. It’s been a blessing for my wife and I to be able to regularly attend again now that our girls can drive themselves to a church where they can worship with their peers from school.
Not too long ago, I took the time to notice this really cool piece of art featured prominently near the church’s main entrance that was created by the girl for whom my wife served as a “buddy” in the early days of BPC’s Circle of Friends Ministry. What a fabulous way to let families of kids with special needs know that this is a place where they too were wanted…where their presence mattered. When I became involved with other leaders from Bay Presbyterian Church in starting Key Ministry, my primary motivation was that I wanted other families to have the same opportunity to experience church that my family had.
Thank you for your care, your prayers, your encouragement and support! And thanks for giving me and my team the opportunity to pursue our “God thing.”
Steve…and the people of Key Ministry