God’s Great Gift; Member Spotlight on Sandy MacMillan
Sandy MacMillan has a ‘heart for ministry’ at Buncombe Street!
Sandy and her older brother were raised in a loving home. Her parents were great role models and have been happily married nearly 62 years. Sandy received a BS in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.
Sandy grew up in a United Methodist church. She longed to be close to God, but even as a “good” girl, she felt that she wasn’t good enough to merit God’s love. When a staff member of Campus Crusade for Christ shared the gospel with her during her first week of college, she was excited to realize that God sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for her shortcomings – so that she really could draw close to God. She said yes to God’s great gift that day in September of 1979, and her life has never been the same!
In her own words: “Forty years later, the passion that still motivates me is a desire to get to know God better. Through each season of joy and hardship, I’ve found that there is no greater security and hope than the one that is found in God. It is my greatest joy as I spend time with others to love them with Christ’s love, and to encourage them on their spiritual journey. I am passionate about Biblical literacy… I have found it true, as the Bible tells us in Hebrews 4:12, that ‘the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.’ Something about studying God’s Word changes lives. It can bring hope in any circumstance, and with the Spirit’s guidance, transform us into Christ’s likeness.”
Most of her days start with time with the Lord. Sandy “makes a pot of tea in Grandmom MacMillan’s china teapot and settles into the worn place on my couch with my Bible, journal, and sometimes other Christian books.” This time allows her to get to know God directly by journaling her thoughts and prayers, then pausing to listen to God.
Running keeps her on track physically as well as spiritually. Most days “after my devotional time I head out for some sort of run. I’m much slower than I used to be. Currently I’m training for the first half marathon I’ve run in years. My goal is simply to complete the 13.1 miles without walking! But fast or slow, my favorite thing about running (well besides that it burns calories I can trade in for chocolate) is the way running keeps my body busy so my mind can focus on other things. Running is a sacred space in my life.”’
Sandy and her husband Jim have been married for thirty years and joined BSUMC in 2002. They have faced challenges and shared many blessings! Their boys, Jas (28) and Morgan (25), are grown men now. Sandy remembers how Gayle Quay found room for the boys in Vacation Bible School their very first week in town. “The boys met their first Greenville friends at VBS.”
A blessing is “seeing the men of integrity that they’ve become. I can’t take credit for the character that they’ve developed, but I will give a shout out to the folks at Buncombe Street who loved our boys as they grew. Serving as camp counselors with Gayle Quay and David Stubbs impacted both boys. And the men who loved Jas as he participated in Boy Scout Troop 9 still have a special place in my heart. As they mentored Jas through to his Eagle Scout rank, the impact on his character was even more significant than the growing number of patches on his sash!”
Jas is now married to the best gift he’s ever given his mom, his amazing wife Sadie. They reside in the San Diego area. Morgan graduated from Clemson in 2016 and still lives there, managing a booming restaurant business and generously making time for lunches with his Mom. Some of you remember seeing Morgan on the sidelines of Clemson football games as a cheerleader. Others may or may not have seen him disappear about the same time the Clemson Tiger appeared at a Birthday party or other special event.
As her boys grew older, Women’s Ministry captured Sandy’s heart. “Christian faith grows best in community, and Buncombe Street women’s Bible Studies provided a safe place for my faith to grow and for me to learn to walk more fully in God’s calling.” Sandy led our women’s ministry and also reached out to women in the community through a nondenominational ministry whose goal is to encourage women as they face life’s challenges.
Sandy is passionate as a blood donor. When she donated in January, she shared: “My mom’s health is really frail. Over the last several years, blood transfusions have kept her alive and able to stay moderately active. Knowing that strangers in Maryland haven given blood on her behalf motivates me to donate. I still get nervous and a little queasy, but knowing I can save lives in South Carolina, just like multiple people have donated blood to save my mom’s life, makes it worthwhile!
Sandy has a HUGE heart for ministry! She serves through worship, scripture and prayer, women’s leadership, as a blood donor, and throughout ministry at Buncombe Street!
by Jenna Robinson, BSUMC Downtown Campus