Joe Tucker is the executive director of South Street Ministries. Besides being the in-house comic book expert at South Street, he also touts the privilege of being married to Susan Tucker M.D., medical director at Faithful Servants. This awesome couple has invited you into their celebration of advent. This intimate look into their lives is a part of our Advent-ageous Giving Campaign.
Susan: One of the Tucker family traditions is the celebration of Advent, a wreath with five candles and weekly devotions that center us on the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago and the expectant hope of Christ’s return and the fullness of His Kingdom. Two of our six advent seasons together have been spent ‘expecting’ the arrival of children, something that sharpened our awareness of the season. I have come to appreciate the practice of Advent in that it elongates the Nativity season and challenges me to do something foreign: slow-down.
Joe: Ministry life is busy, urgent. Perhaps one of the most common trappings of ministry is the tyranny of the urgent — someone needs housing NOW, a family is in crisis, a staffing issue needs dealt with immediately. It has been a decade long journey for me to learn how to navigate the many immediate needs with the long-term steps necessary for community impact, organizational growth, and Kingdom-work. This learning process was compounded by the addition of family to the mix of ministry life. When I started at South Street Ministries in 2009, I was single — I had the ability to open up the cafe at 7 am as well as close down for a group at 10 pm. Nearly 10 years later, my ministry schedule is not as flexible. Now the immediate needs of South Street crash against the daily realities of family life, a life that has immediate needs of its own!
Joe & Susan (far left) with the entire Tucker family. They’re holding their boys, James & AJ.
Susan: One of the Unlikely Partners in South Street’s work is Faithful Servants Urgent Care Center. They operate clinic nights at the Front Porch every Tuesday (pediatric) and Wednesday (adults). This partnership isn’t all that unlikely though, since it is reflective of the Tucker family. Joe Tucker at South Street Ministries and Dr. Susan Tucker at Faithful Servants. Thus, practically speaking, one of the new wine-skins of ministry for us is the flip-flop of schedules for who is at the Front Porch and who is parenting or transporting the boys!
Joe: On one such flip-flop Tuesday afternoon, I picked up the boys and headed to the Summit Lake Farmer’s Market to buy some jam. This was the fifth year of the Summit Lake Farmers market. South Street Ministries helped found the market and maintained a staff presence at the market this year leading health lessons for youth. As I arrived, I had a moment of clarity. Despite the busy day, and taciturn tykes, I remembered how far this market had come. It was a divine moment, remembering and experiencing God’s Kingdom progress over those five years. In the midst of a hectic summer with many pressing needs and issues, I had the serenity to look back and hope forward.
Susan: As we approach the Advent season, I think that is an apt description: looking back and hoping forward. Amidst the busyness of the season, Advent is an intentional pause — to light candles, read Scriptures, remember the advent of Christ, and hope forward to His Kingdom come fully. I have many days at South Street (as does Susan at Faithful Servants) where a feeling of overwhelmed-ness can dominate my day — where the actions of the day don’t seem to outweigh the challenges around us. However, these feelings are always quelled with perspective — when I remember how far God has brought us as an organization, as a people, as individuals. The tyranny of the urgent seems less tyrannical because God IS. God IS good, always. God IS love, always. God IS provider, always. As we look back and hope forward, Advent reflections have empowered us in God to live presently.
I hope you’ve been encouraged by the Tuckers reflection! Just like the Tuckers, the team at South Street Ministries cherishes the advent season and lives in expectation of God’s goodness and grace. In all things we wait on God, but in this season we’re boldly asking you to enact that goodness! Please consider supporting South Street Ministries today with a year-end contribution, or another creative gift. Thanks for joining us on this journey!