As Orchard’s Partner Manager, I have first hand-access to the amazing work our Partners are doing. I love cheering on and empowering these leaders as they embrace their callings, fight for their communities, and serve the Lord through tangible action.

However, the most beautiful part of my job occurs when I’m getting to know a new or new-to-me Partner. After some casual get-to-know-you banter, I love to get straight to the good stuff, asking “What compelled you to start your organization?”, then leaning back in my desk chair to let the leader tell their story. And without fail, as I listen, I begin to tear up.

Whether I’m meeting with them over Zoom or experiencing their work in person, I love watching a leader’s face light up with passion and enthusiasm when they describe what prompted their ministry or the life-change that they’ve seen transpire. No matter who the Partner is or the sort of outreach they’re doing- relational advocacy in cancer wards, addiction recovery and medical care for veterans, or creating safe havens for victims of abuse and trafficking- I’m brought to tears by the way the Lord empowers people so differently to do such a variety of good and necessary work. Love shines through their stories, lives, and ministries.

For each of our Partners, love is the reason they serve their communities so faithfully. 

Propelled by their conviction, our Orchard Partners consistently stun me with their capacity for love. While we at Orchard strive to make ministry work easier, we know that non-profit life has its own unique share of challenges. Work-life boundaries are frequently blurred, and it’s easy to grow overworked and burned out in service of your mission. Too often, we grow weary of doing good. 

But that’s where our values show up: to fortify us and everyone we impact to keep going in that race set before us. (Hebrews 12:1) Building upon “Jesus is the center” and “prayer is necessary”, Orchard’s third value is “love is the reason”. Inspired by the work of our Partners and the work of Jesus Christ when on earth, we want all we do to be first and foremost out of love. (1st Corinthians 16:14). Every decision we make and every program we produce must come from a desire to love our Partners and love the Lord better than we did the day before. 

At Orchard, we define love as “genuine care for another that places their needs above your own”, recalling the scripture of Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:19. When weariness arrives, we lean into what inspired us in the first place: our love for God and the world He created. Love is both our purpose and our posture, simultaneously our why and our how. 

This week, whether we’re responding to emails, strategizing about next steps, or in the world serving others, I pray we can remember that love is the reason this work is worth it. I want us all to have that same gleam in our eyes when someone asks us why we do what we do. I want our love for others and our Lord to shine through our actions, manifesting as both a beacon of hope for our community and a reminder of purpose for ourselves. Everything, when viewed through the lens of love, becomes missional, in service to the deeper victory of God at play in our lives.