By Patrick Scriven
A friend from High School recently shared an article with me on Facebook that had nothing to do with Covid-19 or the upcoming election. How rare and refreshing!
The article was about Dean Chesky, a bus driver in Wisconsin who logged one million miles transporting children over a 46-year career with the Flambeau School District. For roughly a decade, I rode on Dean’s bus several hours each day as he picked up and dropped off students who often lived miles apart.
I have many fond — and some less than fond — memories of those frequently bumpy and long bus rides. Dean was a constant throughout them, picking us up early each morning regardless of the weather, rarely missing a day sick or on vacation.
This story caused me to remember the many saints that I’ve come to know in local churches — those people who are faithful to a fault. Too easily, we neglect to recognize their steady, reliable contributions and how essential they are to any faith community worth belonging to.
A blessing of connectional work is the opportunity to see that such individuals are found in every healthy church. Without them, even gifted leaders will fail to gain much traction as the church’s work overwhelms them.
In denominational conversations, we are often too fixated upon leadership, or a certain kind of it anyway. How can we nurture these **insert buzzword** leadership skills? What leadership gifts do you need to grow your church?
Don’t get me wrong. Good leadership is essential to any organization. But healthy churches also need faithful, humble, reliable, and gifted disciples who show up to do the undervalued and overlooked things. Their example is rarely flashy and hard to distill into an exciting audiobook but plain enough to see and experience.
The school district took the opportunity of this milestone to honor Chesky’s years of dedicated, safe service. While I haven’t seen Dean for decades, I’m almost positive that he didn’t ask for this even if it is clear that he was pleased by the recognition. The same would likely be true in many of our faith communities, where such moments offer opportunities to express sincere feelings of gratitude and affirmation of the service such persons exemplify.
May God bless your ministry with its share of bus drivers.
Patrick Scriven is a husband who married well, a father of three amazing girls, and a seminary educated layperson working professionally in the church. Scriven serves the Pacific Northwest Conference as Director of Communications and Young People’s Ministries.