By Barbara Rendel
Is your life driven by your passions?
My life has taken so many turns, and I am in the midst of another one. My husband has completed a 40-year ministry in the local church to become director of church relations at Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University.
Who Am I?
Many times, through many changes or circumstances, I have asked the question, “Who am I, now?” I have known since childhood I wanted to serve Jesus. I remember attending great revivals as a child and thinking I would love to spend my life playing piano at them.
Our ministers were always from Cincinnati Christian University where my brother, Dewey, had gone. My parents did not have much money, but they said I could enroll. At college I got acquainted with, dated, and eventually married Wally Rendel.
My life changed many times and I transformed from a little girl in Sugartree Ridge to a college student, then a secretary, minister’s wife, college graduate, young mother, mother with children in college, executive director of a Christian foundation, missions minister at a church, mother with children in ministry who lived far away—on and on it keeps changing to this newest role.
In all these changes, my passion for ministry has remained constant. In my life I have had more blessings than I could ever have imagined. Because of that I want to make an eternal difference in the lives of others for the remainder of my life.
In telling you my passions and what I am doing to fulfill them, I sincerely hope you will be inspired to write down your passions, make your plan for carrying them out, and work on at least one of them each day.
Fulfilling My Passions
• My greatest passion is evangelism.
Because I feel I can multiply my efforts in winning the world to Jesus, I am currently working as advancement officer for Cincinnati Christian University. I try to take advantage of personal opportunities to meet those who need to know Jesus.
One “event” that I, with the help of many, had the privilege of organizing at our church was a prayer ministry that lasted for a month. Using a call center with 15 phones set up, we made more than 16,000 phone calls. We got phone lists for our selected zip code areas. We did not set it up as a “get you to come to church” call. Although that was certainly a bonus effect from the calling. We simply asked if there was anything we could pray about for them or anyone else. The response was extremely positive. Some people called, some people prayed, some people wrote notes—and some people did all three! Our church people and community were changed.
We cannot measure all of the soul-winning results of this prayer ministry but we know that approximately 125 people visited the church as a direct result of the prayer ministry.
• Another passion of mine is to reach out to the hurting and lonely people in this world to personally let them know I care.
I visit people who live alone. I visit those who simply need someone who will listen. I take food to the sick or bereaved. I may not know what to say, but I can cook.
Sometimes I go to the hospital to visit people, even if I don’t know them. Hospital calls are sometimes difficult for me, but I know their need is greater than my weakness regarding medicine, blood, IVs, etc.
I visit people in nursing homes. I fill water pitchers and give out smiles and hugs. I send cards and write notes. I usually send to several people at a time. Why not let someone know you care? It really is an easy way to reach out without much effort or time.
• My other great passion is serving others by reaching out to people in the community.
As the missions minister at my church, I organized many outreach events, but the one I called Bridges received the most participation. Bridges enlisted 500 people—in a church with 1,000 people—to serve the community on a Friday and Saturday in September. We called and asked various community organizations if there was anything we could do for them on one of those days—like clean, paint, serve food, sort clothes, fix a roof, rake yards, whatever they would like us to do. We came up with 50 projects and places for our people to serve. We verified what tools were needed, the number of workers, who would instruct us, time required, and other details. We found projects for every age group and all who were willing to serve.
It was a huge blessing for every person, and the overflow of blessings simply returned to the church. Many people who served had their own lives changed forever through this experience.
I need to feel I have a purpose in life. I need to feel I am making an eternal difference. I have found that working within areas I am passionate about fulfills me and makes an eternal difference. I hope you are living your life with great purpose and passion. Don’t let opportunities pass you by. That’s my desire.
Barbara Rendel is executive director of university advancement at Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University.