Apple has the I-Cloud, but my place of employment has an even more impressive cloud! This past week the DOOR summer kicked off. The 10-12 weeks following the Memorial Day holiday, DOOR hosts approximately 2,500 Discover participants in 6 cities.
After almost 18 years it is tempting to fall into a “look what I have accomplished” mentality. More than 30,000 people have participated; many have made significant faith commitments as a result of a week with us; leaders have been empowered. Claiming all of this as my own not only leads to arrogance, but is dangerously wrong.
Hebrews 12 talks about a cloud of witnesses. These are people who have gone before us and walk with us, offering wisdom, correction and encouragement. Without this cloud of witnesses effective authentic ministry is not possible. If I am going to brag about anything, it is the “DOOR-Cloud.” This cloud includes the visionaries who first began thinking about structured service trips in 1985, years before youth mission trips were on anyone’s radar screens. Then there are the gatherings of 2005 and 2006 when we brought together all our local board members of color and asked them to help DOOR be less racist. These were not easy meetings. It is never fun to confront individual and institutional racism, but the courageous work of these men and women helped us to better understand the radical inclusiveness of the gospel.
This cloud also includes former and current staff. There are the women of DOOR who have fearlessly and compassionately lead even when men have questioned the legitimacy of their call. We have immigrants who have endured insults and unwelcoming attitudes, yet they have loved and cared for participants in ways that mirror Jesus’ love for us. We have gay staff members that have been told that they are somehow outside the reach of God’s grace yet in spite of this they have loved and cared for the very people who are condemning them. We have staff of color who have endured both subtle and blatant racism and still they have not let this ignorance and mean-spiritedness stop them from reaching across racial barriers and seeking places of understanding and friendship.
For 18 years I have been surrounded by the DOOR-Cloud. If you count yourself as part of this group, thank you!