Orignally published in the quarterly Explorer in March 2013.

Ministry is a reciprocal matter. We give and get back, bless and are blessed, wield influence and are changed. Service proceeds best from selfless motives, but we are blind not to recognize that service also enjoys returns.

The members of River Road Church, Baptist have made and continue to make unselfish investments in the lives of people and ministries. These efforts put something into the lives of people and they come back to us in the satisfaction of seeing God’s work flourish, or in knowing that this happens beyond our sight. Three examples:

First, over the past eight years, River Road Church has ordained three seminarians who have served their internship among us. When Blake Traynham, our current pastoral intern, is ordained in April, that makes four. These students, two men and two women, were nurtured in their calling to ministry and their ministerial skills were strengthened by their experience among us. Your influence lives on in their

ministries. One of them, Brent Kimlick, now serves as pastor of Franklin Baptist Church, the church where I was pastor from 1983 to 1992.

Second, for about a year a congregation of Chinese Christians met in our Chapel on Sunday afternoons. They landed here while they saved money to purchase property and build their own worship and educational

space. That dream was realized last year when they dedicated a lovely and spacious new building on Route 250 in Goochland County. We helped them to achieve their vision.

Third, every Saturday evening a congregation of Ethiopian Christians meets in our building for worship and fellowship. Their worship is exuberant and demonstrative, typical of African believers. They represent a growing Ethiopian population in the Richmond area, many of whom have already become United States citizens and are working productively in our community.

All three are examples of the way the River Road congregation gives, blesses and wields influence. And through each of these we are the recipients of blessings. As we give, so we receive—a biblical principle that proves true again and again.