Over the weekend, I learned that a colleague of mine here in Indy is the brother-in-law of a guy in Denver that Dave and I worked with in a church there during our seminary days.
Last spring when I was teaching in Pennsylvania, one of my students — a long-time pastor from Maryland — heard me share which denomination and town in Wisconsin I grew up in, and asked, “Do you know _______” — and said the name of my youth pastor, who with his wife has been one of the most significant influences in my life. My adult student and my youth pastor had served together in denominational leadership years ago.
Another guy was a youth pastor in my state when I was growing up and spoke at youth conferences that I attended as a teenager. He later was a guest speaker (and played guitar with me) at a camp in Wisconsin where I served one summer as program director. We are now colleagues at Denver Seminary, where I serve as Associated Faculty.
When my youth pastor left my church for another across the state, I got to know a lot of the kids in his new youth group. Many of them went to college across the border in Minnesota, and five of them became my leaders & interns when I directed the high school ministry at our first church out of seminary, in the Twin Cities.
A few years ago in North Carolina, I was running a 5K with a youth leader from our church there. During the race I discovered that she had attended high school in Michigan, where she had one of my high school teachers who had moved to her town after leaving my school in Wisconsin.
During my Ph.D. program in Louisville, I became friends with a classmate who, it turned out, had served as a missionary in Africa with some friends I knew in North Carolina.
I could go on and on. I am continually discovering “Kingdom connections” among my many friends, colleagues and acquaintances. These connections are a very cool reminder of the kinship we share in Christ, a kinship that is not bound by geographical, denominational, institutional, or political boundaries.