Thanks to a superhero
Dear Nikki – a champion for kids ministry –
Winnie the Pooh told his friends, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” I agree with Winnie the Pooh. Saying goodbye is never easy when you have developed such a love and concern for the people to whom you are saying goodbye. Of course, this really isn’t goodbye in the big picture as we will continue to be friends and worship together, but it is definitely the end of our working relationship on the Heritage Ministries team.
I think of some pastors like superheroes. They are the shepherds of flocks, ministers to the church, counselors of many, advisers in confusion, servants of the Most High; teachers, lawyers, mechanics, nurses, IT and sound engineers, janitors (it seems that pastoring is like an all-in-one profession!); often, the ones who work with the smallest sheep have the most to do and do the most without recognition.
When I was an intern back in the early days of ministry, one of our assignments was spending time learning and serving the “least of these,” including kids, babies in the nursery, the disabled, those with special needs, and shut-ins. It changed my life in ministry! (By the way – So have you!)
According to the dictionary, a superhero possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who uses their “powers” to help the world become a better place. Here is how I have seen you use yours:
- You meet with and care for people with genuine love
- You attend numerous meetings with attention
- You write curriculum with biblical accuracy and lightning speed
- You prepare leaders, spaces, and supplies faster than a locomotive
- You keep up with trends and social media with accuracy and discernment
- You invest in your own family
- You find time leftover to manage well and fill with hobbies, prayers, and friends
- You leap tall obstacles in a single bound
Whew! … and that isn’t everything!
So, Nikki, what is Your superpower? I think of it sort of like Santa Claus. There are many people who dress up to look like the original, or what we know of him to be, but, some get closer to the idea of Santa than others. Some Santas are better than others! Similarly, your superpower is your ability to always find a cheerful, creative, fun way to represent the true superhero, Jesus.
Nikki, I am not at all trying to equate you with THE Superhero, Jesus. I do not mean to imply that you can do it all, or that you have omnipotence or immortality, but I want to say that in a world that needs superheroes, you have reflected the One true Superhero well in your role as a shepherd. This is your superhero power and ability! Because of you, kids have heard the gospel, families have been prayed for, brokenness has begun to heal, love has been shared, truth has been taught, faith has increased, the worth of kids has been lifted, perspectives have changed and, above all, the name of Jesus has been elevated.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
Thank you for sharing the treasure of Jesus in the unique clay jar that is Nikki Bridgeford. From the outside you look like a traditional shepherd and mom, a slice of classic suburban apple pie. But it turns out that this is actually your superhero secret identity, because there is nothing ordinary about you! What is really extraordinary is your revolutionary approach to life that defines you as a follower of the living Christ Jesus! Your normal Clark Kent persona is really a superhero secret identity. I have seen you walk around looking and acting like a seemingly average everyday Nikki until you do a quick costume change, take off your proverbial glasses, and make a powerful impact on your corner of the world. I have been a witness to the impact from your dazzling transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit and it’s breath taking! While we all have the potential to make a difference, you lead the way in showing how God uses devoted and humble hearts to do extraordinary things.
So thank you. Thank you for letting Jesus be enough. Thank you for consistently and faithfully making much of Jesus and making sure He gets all the glory. Thank you for your friendship and for always giving 110%! Thank you for being a joyful and creative way of knowing the Savior better. Thank you for generously sharing the treasure that is Jesus. I salute you. I cherish you. I carefully and sadly say goodbye. Keep shining. Keep shepherding with your whole heart whatever flock God gives you. May God continue to bless you and Matt all the days of your life.
With Love, A sidekick named Miriam
PS. Remember – as I quote a superhero couture designer, Edna Mode – No Capes – Ever – They get in the way and hide the light!