Eyes of Faith
July 14th, 2009Posted by: Theo Nicolakis
Words can’t express what’s transpired over the past two to three weeks. Needless to say, it’s been physically and spiritually taxing. Bluntly, I’m exhausted. I’m sure many—if not all—can relate to such periods in life.
Very few know the long hours we put in at the Archdiocese–especially in Internet Ministries. For the most part (and I’m not saying this is a good thing) we’re always connected because of what our responsibilities are.
One of the things that I’m constantly connected to is the Orthodox Military Bible (or to be more precise, New Testament and Psalms) and the web site. For the past two years, I was part of a small team with Fr. Bill Bartz that put this project together with my colleagues Nick Garbidakis, Tom Durakis, Lea Velis-Drivas, Chris Thyberg and Bob Briggs among others. We’ve been collecting data about those requesting copies of the Military Bible for the past two months or so since we formally launched it.
While I can’t share the results fully, I can simply say that I’m humbled by the responses. To hear things such as “When I was in the service, we didn’t have ‘Orthodox’ as an option on our dog tags” or “I’m going to use this Bible to read along with my son who is deployed” to emails and snippets of stories that talk about how this Bible has brought strength, encouragement and pride to so many.
While this project took nearly two years to complete and I did it largely on my own personal time late at night, during weekends, during my vacations, and in addition to all my other work responsibilities, the “impact stories” that are coming through has made all that sacrifice worth it.
I’ve become so accustomed to looking at “numbers” on the web like we had 250,000 unique visitors during this period or 1,000,000 visitors for the year so far that you can potentially lose focus of the lives that are being touched and transformed. I’m so glad I had the benefit of over ten years of active youth ministry and several more years of teaching Church/Sunday school. Those transforming experiences have always grounded me to remember how it’s not the numbers that matter, but that people’s lives are being connected to Christ.
Yes, it’s important to have benchmarks. Yes, it’s important to measure progress. However, if all we do is “measure” by numbers, and we don’t take time to find out the story and face behind the number, we won’t get any idea about the kind of real transformation that God is working in the lives of people.
May HE continue to give us the strength, guidance, and courage to continue exercising what He has called us to in this vital ministry.