To some, who have grown up in relatively normal environments, doing the basic things of life is not a problem. You wake up, make your bed, brush your teeth, walk the dog, show up for work on time, and save a little portion of your paycheck every week. To others, those of us who considered ourselves "special", we sleep late, let others make our bed, lose our teeth from addiction use, let the dog run wild, may or may not go to work, and not only spend all of our paycheck, but try to get into yours.
To us "others", the ordinary is a curse word. Who could possibly thrive in a world like this being ordinary? Everything around us screams to be different, unusual and attention grabbing. Yes, to be ordinary is not to be extraordinary. Or is it?
The backbone of any organization, military service or church are those who are ordinary. The people who clean the bathrooms, serve the food, park the cars, make the coffee, fix the plumbing- these are some of the "grunts" who pave the way for others to succeed. Not very often do we see them get a trophy or a plaque or a thank you, and not very often do we see the leaders being the ordinary. The leaders feel we have to excel for you to follow, when in truth, we have to Master The Ordinary.
People ask me all the time, how do you do it, how is this ATB continuing to grow, and they think I have done something unusual to make it so. In truth, here is the most valuable thing I have learned, and it is what I deserve no credit for, and for what God deserves every praise. I have learned how to be good at being ordinary.
At North Atlanta, when the recovery ministry exploded there in the early 2000's, others were helping to bring new folks in, word of mouth was building, but the Lord spoke to my heart and said stop trying to be extraordinary and just serve ordinarily, and watch what happens. So I prepared
a topic, set up the room, made the coffee, bought the donuts, drove the van both ways to pick up extra folks, drove them back afterward, then cleaned up.
In roughly 90 days the only thing I still had to do was prepare the topic or get someone else to lead that particular night. We had doubled, tripled and someone else had volunteered to be ordinary and serve in one of those other capacities. So I decided to stand in the parking lot and greet each person who came off the vans personally before the meeting. Just another something ordinary. Then we quadrupled. Sound like ATB?
In Acts 4, they said this about Peter and John after they had given a sermon and healed a cripple: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary people, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Doesn't take big plans or extraordinary words to bring others to the Lord, just takes being very good at being ordinary!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.