Big Things with Small Things

In a couple of months, by the grace of God, I will officially begin my tenure as the National Coordinator for Generations Ministry (GenMin). My friend Jeff Broadnax and others blazed a trail that I am grateful to follow. It is humbling to be placed in a position to assist in the spiritual care for the young people of our denomination in the US. Fortunately, God has proven himself to be a God who can do big things with small things. I would like to share a bit of my story with you, so you understand my confidence in God.

I was 5 years old when I last saw my father, and I emotionally struggled with never knowing the man that made me. My mother was always enough, but there were times when the dad-sized hole in me ached. At those times she would say, “Don’t ever think that you don’t have a father. You have a heavenly Father who loves you.” It took me a very long time for me to believe her. I was born into the Worldwide Church of God, and I struggled under legalism and people who did not treat me with kindness. One adult charged with caring for the youth in a neighboring congregation told me that I likely would not amount to much. Encounters like this made God seem unloving and cruel. On top of that, I grew up in a community where many did not value little brown boys. My family was one of few black families in my town, and I suffered under persistent racism. In high school, my guidance counselor refused to help me apply to colleges because he did not believe I was college material. With a backstory like this, you would expect me to become a statistic, but we serve a God who can do big things with small things.

Miraculously, God did not allow the hatred and dehumanization of others to derail his plan for me. By God’s grace, he decided that I would go to Harvard University, where I studied sociology and African American studies. While in school, he introduced me to my wife Afrika, and our union produced Serena and Cairo, our wonderful children. At Harvard, God also gave me my first career through my work-study job. I became the first African American to serve on the adult staff of the South Boston Boys and Girls Club. It was there that I realized how much I loved working with children. For the next twenty years, every job I had was working either with or for young people. For ten years I worked for the Boston Public Schools, where I headed the office that coordinated afterschool programs and student services. At one point, my office supported 8,000 children and youth across the city of Boston. The kid that “would not amount to much” helped thousands of children learn, grow, and realize there were no limits on what they could accomplish. Our God can do big things with small things.

During this time, God was drawing me to himself and towards my calling in Christ. While in college I decided to stop following God. I believed he existed, but I was angry at him and doubted his love for me. That went on for over a year until, like the prodigal son, I remembered my Father and longed to be with him again. Because God is full of grace, he began to reveal himself in different ways and in different places. My wife and I attended a progressive Baptist church, a megachurch, a traditional Baptist church, and a Pentecostal church. At each church except the megachurch, I was invited to lead in ministry — youth minister, associate pastor, and youth pastor, respectively. It was through these experiences that I came to learn that God is a good God, and in him, there is no shadow or darkness. I came to fall in love with the church and wanted to participate in the work Jesus was doing. God took the kid that hated church and was not taught about Christ to share the gospel with scores of youth and adults. Our God can do big things with small things.

God brought my story full circle and returned me to Grace Communion International. God used the denomination that placed burdens on me as a child to spiritually liberate me and finally give me a theology that felt right. After serving as a church planter in Randolph, MA, the Lord led me to shepherd Grace Christian Church, the same church I occasionally attended in college. God blessed me with a truly beautiful church family. When Greg Williams approached me about the GenMin role, my mind flashed back through the journey I just shared with you, seeing God’s hand in every moment. Of course, I prayed and sought wise counsel from those led by the Spirit, but through the circumstances of my life, God showed me the extent to which he had been equipping and preparing me for this moment before I even knew to call on him. My God can do big things with small things. I pray that God will use me, in partnership with parents, pastors, and congregations, to bring the same message to the young people of our denomination.

Dishon Mills

15 thoughts on “Big Things with Small Things”

  1. Grateful for you, Dishon, and your willingness to participate with God in doing BIG things with small things. Excited to see God’s continued presence in and through you and Afrika!
    ~ Carrie & Greg

  2. Congratulations! It sure sounds like the Lord has wonderfully molded and skilled you for this new exciting challenge. May the love of God fill your heart and his grace lead you every step of the journey.

    Praying for you,
    Santiago

  3. Dishon, congratulations! The blessing of riding on the stormy sea of life is not appreciated until we are mercifully reminded my (our) Lord, who rests in the boat and has all authority and power to bring us into his rest and to still the storms. May you continue to resist the allusion of strength of self and rely on Jesus as you help shape a part of the body of Christ in humble gratitude. I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do next. Blessings on you and your family!

  4. Congratulations Dishon. Nancy and I are grateful you and Afrika can use your multiple God given gifts serving Jesus in this valuable ministry, GCI, and others. We love you and pray God guide and empower you in this blessed service. Ken and Nancy

  5. You are a truly blessing from God and I can’t wait to see all that lies ahead for you, your family and GCI as you yield to your Father’s love and guidance. Love you Brother.

  6. Congratulations Dishon!
    What a wonderful testimony to a loving and merciful God. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for trusting God with it!

  7. Dishon, super news for your new ministry role. Thank you for taking on this responsibility! May God give you all the strength, health and inspiration to follow His lead and continue to make positive differences in the lives of many.

  8. What an encouraging story! I pray that many more ministry, like Dishon, having experience from other denominations, will be led to return to Grace Communion to make their story ‘full circle’ and bless us with what they have learnt along the way.

  9. Thank you, Dishon, for sharing your story. I am sure there will be much more to tell as time marches on, and I’m filled with joy in hearing how the Lord has graciously and mercifully worked with you through the years. You have shared portions of this journey with me as we have spent time together over the years I have called you friend and brother. It is good to now have a bigger picture of your amazing journey.

    Love from NH,
    Thom & Marlene

  10. “Passa D”, what a praise description of our awesome Father working with you and the takeaway of looking back in our own lives is mind blowing! Because I have had the opportunity to serve with you and my sister Afrika at Camp Mattatuck and learn joyously with you two at Wednesday night small group, I can’t wait for what is happening next. Our Dad’s most awesome blessing on both of you.

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