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Encouraging our lead staff – part 1

February 3, 2009

The Bridge has a phenomenal leadership staff.  Giftedness, team chemistry, ability to cause mischief and embarrass their pastor, and love for Christ are all strong characteristics of our team.  We finished our annual evaluations last week and I think we should take a chance to honor the people that give us so much.  Here are some of the great things our elders see in our Missions Minister, Susan…

staff-page_30What we see in Susan:

  • Contagious, Christ-like passion.  Susan breathes passion for the poor, lost, and marginalized.  This isn’t a “job” to Susan; it’s just normal life.  If she weren’t getting paid a dollar (which is close to what she’s getting paid now), I believe with everything in me that Susan would be pouring herself out missionally the same as she is now.  She exemplifies what it means to love God with all her heart and love people like she loves herself.
  • Susan is constantly growing.  This flows out of her passion for mission.  She’s constantly reading, studying, asking questions, and learning from other churches to find ways to grow as a leader and need-meeter.
  • Love for God.  Every time I talk to Susan, she’s sought God in His Word, through prayer, and through the wisdom of other believers.  In short, she’s hungry and thirsty for His presence… and you can feel it when you talk to her.  In a word, Susan is anointed.

They give to us year-round.  I think it’s our turn to give some encouragement back.  What do you want to say to Susan at the beginning of ’09?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. songbea permalink
    February 4, 2009 2:43 am

    Susan has encouraged me as a homeschooler, which has made me try harder…she has inspired me with her passion for loving people, which has given me and new heart for people…and she always makes me laugh…and laughing is always good! I love her!

  2. February 4, 2009 8:24 am

    No one knows this precious person like I. After 22 years of marriage you have seen the good bad and ugly in someone. To my plesant surprise she is still married to me with all my “warts”, literaly and figurativly. Susan has changed/grown so much since we met and married. In our early years things had a much higher value for her than they do today. Hours spent on makeup and dollars on clothes were important to her. I have always said I like her best with no makeup. She is a natural beauty! Today things don’t have the same meaning as those early years. I love that about her. Her focus is outward rather than inward. When I look at our kids I see Susan. Their love for the Lord, good grades, and compassion for others is a reflection of who she is. I thank God every day that he brought her into my life. A true gift from God.

  3. February 4, 2009 9:17 am

    A guy couldn’t ask for a better small group member, sister-in-law, sister in the faith, friend, or missions pastor. For those of you who are new to The Bridge, Susan didn’t get “hired.” She earned her role at The Bridge by simply doing what she loves most, loving people through missions. She was simply doing what needed to be done without title, without pay and without expecting anything. She was doing what she’s doing right now. The elders recognized her giftedness, influence in the church bocy, and leadership. Without a hint of hesitation the elders did whatever it took to bring Susan onto the team. She could do the job she does at a church 20 times the size of The Bridge. It is a fact. And someday she will, when The Bridge is 20 times the size she is right now and Susan will be one of the key reasons the church will be a Gathering of people of 2,000.

    Susan, I hope you realize you are one of the most respected people in our family and at The Bridge!

  4. Dale permalink
    February 4, 2009 10:31 am

    Susan is amazing, she is like the energizer bunny she just goes on and on HELPING people. I am truly inspired by her every time you are around her she has a “glow”. The glow is The Holy Spirit showing through her. Give that lady a few loaves and some fish and she feeds everyone that our missions come in contact with. You are GREAT Susan!

  5. Nathan W. permalink
    February 4, 2009 3:36 pm

    I don’t know if I can add much to what’s been said above, so I will just say that I have been extremely blessed by knowing Susan Howerton.

  6. Julie Howerton permalink
    February 4, 2009 3:55 pm

    I would LOVE to encourage my dear sister-in-law. Honestly she’s by far one of the most inspirational women in my life. I am truly inspired by her heart for the less fortunate, her willingness to give of herself to them, and her sincere desire to grow in Christ more fully.

  7. Susan Howerton permalink
    February 4, 2009 4:32 pm

    I’m sure you all can’t guess what I’m doing right now but I am balling like a little baby.. imagine that! Me.. crying?! I am so humbled by your sweet encouragement. But I truly have to tell you that whatever passion you see and whatever ability in me is there because of Jesus and the fact that He chooses to use a broken, forgetful, weak, tired, uncreative, willing piece of clay like me to show what He can do. He doesn’t have to or even need to but chooses to and that totally humbles me and blows me away. I truly am a walking miracle of what God can do with a little bit of reluctant willingness, faith, and a whole lot of love for Him and belief that EVERYBODY should have the chance to know Him and love Him and feel His love for them. It is true that His power is made perfect in our weakness… and I’m so incredibly thankful for that. I think The Bridge is like a warehouse of potential that I just see God continuing to pull from as He takes out each individual, explains what He wants them to do for Him, promises He will equip them, listens to them say “there’s no way I can do that… I’m not talented enough, I’m not good enough, I’m too messed up right now, I don’t know enough, it’s not my giftedness/passion, I don’t have the resources or the time, I’m scared… I just can’t”, and then with a smile on His face says “Nope… YOU can’t, but I CAN!” I think He just waits for our surrender of our own faith in ourselves so then we can trust Him to do what He says He will do… fill us with His Holy Spirit and empower us to fulfill His calling in our life… every day, He gives us exactly what we need in order to do what He asks us to do. As someone once said… “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”. We just have to say “Yes!” when He asks and then He will give us what we need to do it. I can testify to that!! All this to say… ALL praise to God. His mercy and grace abound in my life. I am so very blessed, honored, and thankful to be part of The Bridge and to get to serve God with each of you that inspire me day after day after day! You all are my family and I love you and thank you for allowing me to serve on this incredible leadership staff and I thank you for your graciousness to me as you’ve patiently allowed me to step out in faith, grow, and learn what the heck I’m going!

  8. Susan Howerton permalink
    February 4, 2009 4:49 pm

    …doin’… what the heck I’m doin’ AND where the heck I’m goin’! Ha! And some learnin’ on how to tawk ‘ud be gooood too!

  9. alan hood permalink
    February 4, 2009 10:23 pm

    susan i can think of anyone else that would better serve as our missions pastor it is amazing to me the love and faith that you display no matter the situation
    it is evident to me that you are the same Godly woman in and out of church by looking at jordan and lindsay
    i look forward to many years serving with you at the bridge

  10. alan hood permalink
    February 4, 2009 10:24 pm

    that was supposed to be cant think

    me and susan are both from alabama

  11. Christy permalink
    February 4, 2009 11:11 pm

    ‘What do I want to say to Susan’?
    What DON’T I want to say! From my deepest heart to yours dear friend! You make me more like Jesus.

  12. Becky permalink
    February 5, 2009 1:06 am

    I love that Susan always has a smile on her face every Sunday no matter what. Any time I’ve asked if I could talk with her she has given me the time…and answered several emails about homeschooling for me. My first vivid memory of Susan is telling her my kids were asking when they could go on a missions trip and I think about a week later she had a family trip planned and we all got to go, which has awakened a heart for missions in my entire family. Her enthusiasm for missions is contagious. You can tell it all comes from her heart and it isn’t just a job to her. What an example she is to me! And so like her, she has already responded by encouraging others. She never stops!!

  13. Marlene permalink
    February 5, 2009 5:04 pm

    I’ve only known Susan a few short months but I see the grace and love of Jesus pouring out to everyone she sees. It’s amazing to see such compassion and sincerity! Thanks for your servant heart and willingness to “walk” where others fear to go!

  14. Sheri Haun permalink
    February 9, 2009 10:41 am

    Susan has shown me what being the hands and feet of Jesus really mean – in the real world. In situations that are unimaginable, Susan has the heart and mind to do the things that no one else even thinks about – things that aren’t glamorous, showy or glitzy, but rather, things that are necessary and beneficial to others. I thank Susan for all that she has meant to me and to our family. Words can never describe how grateful we are to her committment to showing God’s love in practical ways. She is truly a blessing to me and to all who come into contact with her. Thank you for everything.

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