I have come to see why news outlets carry the sensational over the sentimental: that is what people want. Are people more likely to rubber neck in traffic at a terrible accident or a kid’s lemonade stand? Will we listen to the latest story on violence in Chicago or the latest work of the local Cub Scout Troop? There are exceptions to this rule of course, but people like you and me, are the reason the news is what it is.
No local topic has generated as much friction as the change of leadership in the Oswego 308 School District. I love living in Oswego and pray for our school district daily. Public school leadership can literally be a thankless job. Yet 308 seems to have wrestled with many issues publicly regarding staff, buildings, and funding.
So to go against the tide, I wanted to share some good news. I wanted to highlight our experience with Oswego 308 where the folks can’t be thanked enough, commended enough, and written about warmly enough. While our schools have problems, they also have amazing people who teach, clean, service, lead and listen, and I want to take this opportunity to share our experience.
Our new church, Big Life Community Church, meets at Oswego East High School. Ken Lesley is a building manager at Oswego East. From the moment we approached the school about leasing space, and met with Ken to talk it over, Ken has been a pillar of graciousness and intentional service. He and his staff see that the entire experience is arranged beautifully and with care. They love doing their job and have helped our new church above and beyond all the way.
Well this was put to the test a couple weeks ago. As you likely know, our two high schools are dealing with expansion and construction issues. Two weeks ago we were notified that the Air Conditioning units would be down for one of our weekend preview events. Unless you have lived under a rock, this has been a REALLY hot summer; even I do not want to sit in the heat and listen to myself preach, let alone force that situation on a new church! So we fretted and dreaded and researched options while we prepared to worship in the sweltering July heat.
Late in the week, I got a call from Ken Lesley. Ken wanted me to know that he had made arrangements for our fledgling worship. He had secured two portable air conditioning units (for the other meetings that week) and said he would make sure they were in our room to take the edge off the heat. He even arrived early that morning to turn them on, empty the condensation, and make sure the room was comfortable for our event. Then he APOLOGIZED that it would not be as cool as a normal Sunday morning.
We were floored. The truth is, I really can’t thank him enough. And it isn’t just about the cool air, although that was a gracious and substantial gift. It’s the caring, the goodness, the diligence, and the excellence we have seen over and over from that team of people. In the grand scheme of a growing school district with leadership turnover, major construction, and the power down during a heat wave, a new church is not that important. We know that. But something made it important to Ken. And we thank him and his incredible team for it all.
Yes, the world seems to generate plenty of bad news. But it is also filled with ordinary people serving, blessing, and being models of extraordinary love and goodness to people around them. And for that, I am thankful!