Rev. Kyle Poole (‘95) | NTS Alumni Association Member-at-Large
Senior Pastor, Midland Valley (SC) Community Church of the Nazarene
One of the things I enjoy is running on the North Augusta Greeneway 2-3 times per week. And, since I usually run in the morning, I sometimes encounter “Greeneway Sweepers.”
Do you now what or who these people are? I don’t think “Greeneway Sweepers” is really their job title, but that’s what I call them. “Greeneway Sweepers” are the people that ride in the golf cart up & down the Greeneway, clearing the path of debris (sticks, rocks, puddles, etc) by using a high powered blower (first on one side of the Greeneway, then on the other.) Everybody lets the “Greeneway Sweepers” pass by because they are going ahead of us, doing their job to clear the path for those who will run (or bike), behind them.
As you can imagine, these “Greeneway Sweepers” are especially crucial after a storm. Storms leave branches, dirt, rocks, etc. all over the path. And, without the help of the “Sweepers,” running and biking is much harder and much more dangerous. But, the “Sweepers” go ahead and clear the path to make running possible.
Nazarene Theological Seminary has been a “Greeneway Sweeper” in my life. Because spiritual formation happens best in community, professors and alumni of NTS have gone ahead of me to blaze a trail and clear the path so that I may be more effective in fulfilling my call to ministry.
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG)
Oh, don’t get me wrong… running the Greeneway still takes personal effort! “Greeneway Sweepers” can’t run for us. Perseverance and pain are still involved in the run. But, the “Greeneway Sweeper” has already been ahead and made a way through the obstacles, so we runners know that, with some effort, determination, and discipline, we can run that path too!
We need more “Greeneway Sweepers” - those who go before and clear the path so others can run the race for Christ! So, what would it look like for you to be a “Greeneway Sweeper” - a servant leader like Christ - in your marriage? What would it be like for you to be a “Greeneway Sweeper” as a parent? at your job? in your neighborhood?
I believe that God calls us to follow Christ, the Ultimate Servant Leader, and that as we follow Christ, we run the race and clear the path for those who come behind us.