I’d never have dared to become her friend.
I met Amy Coles at a conference that was geared towards learning to use technology in creative ways for ministry. (Who knew that seven years later it would be a deal-breaker if we DID NOT “get” that lesson!?!) As we were getting ready for the session, Amy walked up to me and said, “I finally get to meet you.”
I’d heard of her. She was a District Superintendent (in layman’s terms, a boss of preachers). But I’ve never imagined she’d given any thought to meeting me.
I asked her what she meant by that, and she replied that she’d heard about me from some mutual friends, but in our many years of ministry together, our paths had never crossed. She’d always wanted to meet me. And there we were. We exchanged niceties and decided we would grab coffee/soda at some future date.
Simultaneously, for my doctorate program, I had to find a mentor. Word on the street was that Amy was wickedly smart and also “gave a lot of grace.” In my realm, I need a lot of “grace givers,” so I figured I’d ask her.
Over the next months, which turned into years, I had the opportunity to learn from one of ministry’s best. And her street cred was right. Not only was Amy kind, generous with her time and knowledge, but I also found I could talk to her about ANYTHING! She never seemed to grow tired of my questions, my work drama, or hearing about my life.
Now Amy is our nominee for the bishop. I do realize I have some pretty significant bias, but I can’t imagine there being anyone better suited for that honor. At the end of the day, she is the most approachable human with the most generous heart. She not only has deep intelligence, but she also has this warmth of making folks feel totally at ease in her presence. To know her is to love her!
Amy embodies Jesus.
Nothing reaches so deeply into human personalities and tugs so deeply at our hearts than being included. We long to belong and want to feel like we matter. Jesus understood this deep and powerful need like no one else! It was why he was intentionally, profoundly, and often times shockingly approachable. In fact, he was probably the most approachable person that ever lived.
And that changed things for all that came in contact with him.
My hope has been that Amy Coles would “Rub off on me” in good, powerful ways. She has to an extent, but I have a ways to go.
We probably all have some room to grow in the approachability area.
We can make someone’s life better if we seek to be open and receive others as Jesus did.
How can you practice that today?