That’s life with Amor founder, and Chief Encouragement Officer, Scott Congdon. The man is dripping with contagious laughter and genuine light-heartedness. Many try and force this sort of joy out of themselves, or put it on like a mask. For Scott (“please, call me Scotty!”) it’s a very real part of him. Perhaps it's a personality trait; more likely, it is the fulfillment found in the pursuit of Christ, and the building of His Kingdom every single day.
Scott and Steve Horrex are best buddies, who live by the motto “If it isn’t fun, we probably shouldn’t do it.” That slogan manifests itself often in flying ping-pong balls, practical jokes and elaborate pranks. The lucky recipients of these vary as much as the shenanigans do. Participants, co-workers, volunteers, UPS drivers, unsuspecting passersby, and pastors are all within his sights for a good laugh to be shared.
First impressions with Scott vary, and as an insider, it is very fun to see his antics and the purpose they serve. The moment a student, an engineer or a site-foreman realizes the wily fellow pulling their leg founded the ministry they are volunteering for and has been building homes for over 30 years is one that is difficult to describe. A mix of confusion, amazement and laughter overtake everyone. Often times, in the physical grind of the house-build, many realize wow, this really is fun!
Don’t mistake Scott’s humor for simplicity, though. This is a man who has seen the world many times over, has a story for every single minute of the day, and has selflessly devoted himself to a ministry he cares deeply for. Listening to him tell Amor’s story in front of a campfire, of the courageous decisions he helped make, tales of the risk-taking and fearless pursuit of justice he has embarked on, leave not a dry eye in camp. Participants are often presented a paradox when it comes to Scott- is this the same guy who made dog noises and pretended to bite people on the worksite this morning? Add in the fact that Scott is a huge technology buff (read: nerd) and you are left with a man who appears to be the culmination of 3 different men. How does this hilarious prankster coexist with the defender of orphan? Perfectly, actually.
Scott’s spontaneity and humor is actually quite strategic. That is not to say that he plans each and every prank in advance. Almost all of it is done on the fly. However, Scott is careful to craft an environment where he can be spontaneous and downright hilarious. It fosters a creative climate, where outside-the-box thinking is encouraged and the Holy Spirit is heavily relied on. And in the fields of justice, poverty alleviation and reconciliation where Amor works, this type of innovative and inventive thinking is not only needed, but required.
This is not only imaginative; it is also Biblical. Think about the miracles Jesus produced, particularly in the book of John. While the recipients of these miracles were often pushed to a point where they could only rely on faith, they also got to see some unbelievable and absurd things happen. Lazarus walking out of graves, in the tightly wrapped cloths, with a limited range of motion and confusion as to what was happening, must have been both shocking and hilarious.
Before Jesus walked on water, he knew the absurdity and strangeness he was to show the disciples. On a whim, he healed an official’s son miles from him, saved a party by turning water into fine wine and fed 5000 men (besides women and children) with just two fish and seven loaves. As the disciples passed out the eats, they probably chuckled to themselves as it kept coming. Love multiplies itself, in a sort of one-up game. The more grand, the more absurd, the better; to Scott, that means the Holy Spirit has been given more room to work.
This environment allows for an easy introduction to new participants, who are treated like old friends. Scott, of course, is the king of pranking as a first impression. This isn’t taught in business textbooks, nor advised by consultants. However, Scott’s genuine joy and lightheartedness entertains children, and offers many others a breath of fresh air.
Scott does not do this as a doorkeeper, or usher for Amor. Everyone he encounters has the potential to be a great new story, a wild feat or someone to just share a laugh with. Scott craves these relationships; it is exhausting just observing how many people he builds relationships with on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter if it is a pastor, a build team leader, or the little kids goofing off while nailing a wall together. Scott wants to know them because that’s what he does. Status, skill and sect matter not.
This is another imitation of Jesus, which Scott enthusiastically pursues. Jesus was definitively invested in people, from all walks of life, to come alongside of them and form a relationship. Scott would argue that Jesus, being God, had a distinct advantage in the scale and audacity of how ridiculous his antics would be, but nonetheless, Scott blazes forward undaunted. His passion for the poor and his love of people equally show the depth of his heart for God and for His people.
Over the course of this next year (that’s 52 weeks for you playing at home), this blog space will attempt to describe life with Amor CEO Scott Congdon, and accompany him along his endeavours. It may feel like trying to read an atlas without pictures, so multimedia will be prominent up in here. Because with Scott, you have to see him to believe it.