Today I had the opportunity to visit with the Administrator of the Shelby County Land Bank. I dropped by their offices to discuss a property I hope to purchase in the near future. Despite preparing to leave for a meeting, she kindly gave me a few minutes of her time. I believe I received an added grace because of a mutual friend who referred me to her. Even so I found myself nervous. After all, I’m preparing to make an offer that is less than the listing price of the property. Thankfully, after a few fitful moments struggling to figure out what to say or where to begin I managed to relax into a more natural conversation. Shortly thereafter I was walking with her down the hall toward the exit while talking about the ministry. She responded by telling me about the possibilities for non-profits to gain property through the Land Bank. It is something we’ve known about and count on using in the future. It was then that she said, “Whether it’s personal or for your non profit, we can help you.”
And that is when it finally hit home.
I realized that the people at the Land Bank are not simply a step in the journey to ministering in Whitehaven. They are new relationships. I hope they are long term relationships. This is not just a transaction where in the end I own a piece of land. These are people who I hope to do business with in the future as well. People who I hope will become excited about the work we’re doing and share in it. People who have an active role to play right where they are. I could just get through the process, but, in the end, I’d be working alone and I can’t to it alone. I need to be connected to people. It was an important reminder of what we’re all about – community. Community builds bridges. Bridges begin by connecting us to people, and when they linger they serve others as well connecting even more people to one another.
I’m not sure where these new relationships will take us, but I have high hopes for the future. We’re building bridges after all.