Attendance Last Sunday – 7
Attendance Today – 7
That’s what the record board said at a small congregation of the Lord’s church as I looked at it recently.
Over a decade ago, I was part of a rotation of men who took turns preaching there on Sunday mornings. I admit that sometimes (OK, most of the time), I didn’t put a lot of preparation into the lessons. I would find a sermon outline from the internet (usually from executableoutlines.com), and read through it while my wife drove us the 45 minutes it took to get there.
Then, when we got there, we’d sit through class taught by Steve Dinkins. He was also the song leader and usually did the Lord’s Supper as well–by himself. Back then, I didn’t really give much thought to how much he did there for that little congregation.
But earlier this month, we visited DuQuoin, Illinois again, for the first time in over ten years. With our family of six (as well as my parents and my sister), we more than doubled their attendance numbers. There were only eleven there for Bible class, including our group of nine people.
You might wonder where I’m going with all of this.
Steve Dinkins was still there. He taught the class, led the singing, and served the Lord’s Supper. And though he used a workbook from Gospel Advocate as the text, it was incredibly obvious that he had spent a lot of time in preparation to teach the class. And if we hadn’t been there, he would have been teaching the class–for which he spent hours preparing–to one person.
I honestly don’t know how many people would spend the time and preparation in study, knowing that they were probably only going to be teaching one or two people. For a lot of people, it would be discouraging, disheartening, and they would be greatly tempted to not really prepare for it much at all. But not Steve. He goes into each week knowing that there’s not going to be more than just a handful of people (if that), yet he makes sure he is prepared.
It says a lot about him.
Years ago, I (sadly) took Steve for granted. I was young, and nowhere near as serious as I should have been about God, Christ, and the church. But now I realize just how extraordinary he is. And I now have a great appreciation for the work he’s doing as a member of the church in DuQuoin.
Most people in the Lord’s church have never heard of Steve Dinkins, and that’s unfortunate. But you know what? There are several people doing the same thing in little congregations throughout this country and throughout the world. There are Steve Dinkins all over this globe who quietly serve their congregations as unsung heroes in God’s army.
And today, I hope you stop for a moment and thank God for these dedicated, but unsung workers in the church. And appreciate them. There aren’t nearly enough of them.
God, I thank you for Steve Dinkins and people like him who serve you and your church without fame or accolades. I ask that you will bless them with a long life in your service, and that others will be encouraged to greater faithfulness by seeing their faithfulness to your word. And may I show the same dedication to you in my own life. Amen.
-Bradley S. Cobb