Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Serving in the Local Church

Lisa encouraged us to see the people in the church and serve them for the Lord's sake and for His glory. In this post, we will be sharing the different ways we labor for the Lord in our home churches. We hope this will encourage you in your service as well.


Persis:

I've been a member of a Reformed Baptist church since 2008. There are less than 100 members, so there are plenty of opportunities to chip in. I help out in the ever-growing nursery once a month and play the keyboard alongside other musicians as part of the music team. I also facilitate a small group of middle-aged women who meet every other week. We've studied books of the Bible and read books together. Currently we are finishing Made for More by Hannah Anderson. This has been a great way to get to know my sisters. We've had thought-provoking discussions and have been able to support one another in prayer. Some younger ladies have joined us at times, so it's not always strictly middle-aged.

Lastly, my primary area of service is Deacon of Library and Resources. I work mainly with the pastor to keep the church library updated with books that complement sermon series and Sunday school topics. I am also on the lookout for books which cover a range of subjects including current issues, theology, and those which help put our faith into practice. I love sound Christian books and take great joy in helping to provide these resources for my brothers and sisters. I'm also responsible for sending out the weekly prayer list and keeping the church calendar up to date.

I'm thankful for my church family and opportunities to serve. I'm also thankful for the elders who encourage the members to use the gifts God has given them for the benefit of the whole.

Kim:

I have been a member of my non-denominational, Baptist-leaning church since 1996. Our church has grown since then, to over 300 people. It's become big enough that I am beginning to see lots of faces I don't recognize. We have two services on Sunday morning, and it can be difficult to get to know everyone.

Since joining, I have served in quite a few areas, but mostly teaching capacities, and that is where I am now. We are fortunate to have five ladies' bible studies available: two on Sunday, and three which meet twice monthly at different locations. I have a class of about 17 eager students ranging from women in their 70's to young women with toddlers. Some of my students were once my students when I taught teenagers, and that is really neat to see how they have grown and are becoming godly women.

I also help out with the young mom's bible study, usually in the nursery. However, currently, I am filling a teaching need, but when September comes, I'll return to the nursery. There is always a need for nursery workers, and it's fun, too! I have really enjoyed teaching this group for the past few weeks. Some of the same faces have shown up in my Sunday school class. The format for the young moms' study is much less formal, and there is a lot more discussion, but these young women have a desire to know God's word, and that's exciting.

I'm really thankful that my church has so many opportunities for service.There is something for everyone, and I've never lacked for something to do.


Melissa:

"Being a Christian is a personal matter, not a private one. When you are born again, you are born into a family." - Mark Dever

"The health of the local church depends on the willingness of its members to inspect their hearts, correct their thinking, and apply their hands to the work of the ministry." - Thabiti Anyabwile

Two years ago this month, my family visited our current church home for the first time. It's a small PCA church with approximately 100 members. Prior to that, we were in a substantially larger Southern Baptist church. Through the years I've taught Sunday School (adult and youth) and Vacation Bible School, led women's Bible studies, served in the nursery, choir, and women's ministry teams. I've also gone on mission trips to New Jersey, Texas, and Peru.

Our current church does not have many of the programs and committees that we were accustomed to in a larger church. It's taken a while to find our niche. This year, my husband and I have taught elementary Sunday School together. I must admit, doing so was out of my comfort zone (I'm much better with youth); however, the Lord has been gracious. We've learned a great deal and had entirely too much fun. I also serve on the women's ministry committee.

A personal ministry I enjoy is sending cards to church members. I love to write encouraging notes and prayers to the members of my family. Often, I find myself encouraged as I remind them of God's love, provision, and promises.

(NOTE: The quotes I shared both come Thabiti Anyabwile's book, What Is a Healthy Church Member?, which I've found to be an invaluable resource.)

Lisa:

Like Persis, I attend a small church where opportunities to serve are many and varied. They are also often beyond my comfort zone! I rock babies in our ever-growing nursery once every few weeks and I teach the children during one eight week community group rotation each summer. And, if we’re being honest, it’s a long eight weeks for me and the kids both! Teaching children would not be my chosen area of service but I’m glad to serve both the future generations of my church as well as their moms. However, I draw the line—a hard line—at any and all crafts! :)

In a small church the hospitality opportunities also abound. The ladies of my church have monthly fellowships and I enjoy taking my turn either leading the devotion or hosting the fellowship in my home. An important part of our community group model is a fellowship meal so I also take my turn providing food for the community groups my family participates in and for other church events. One of the most exciting ways I am currently serving my church is through a committee charged with choosing the interior and exterior finishes as well as appliances and fixtures for our new church building currently under construction.

While it is not a direct ministry of my local church, I teach a community Bible study for women and it is my privilege to serve my church girlfriends who attend or listen via our podcast.

Having grown up in a rather large “mega” church, the small church has been something of a culture shock for me but I love it. I love my church and I love serving my church family in any capacity open to me, from text conversations about spiritual issues to laughter with friends around my kitchen table. Truthfully, I have been challenged by the need to serve outside my preferences and outside what I perceived my gift or talent to be. But the Lord is faithful and not only has He shown Himself sufficient in the sanctifying process but He has taught me how we the church are partakers together of grace as we love and serve one another.

Rebecca:

I attend a small Baptist church—small by North American big city standards, anyway, but it's probably one of the larger churches in my town. We've grown a lot over in the past few years, and if you show up late for the service you may have to squeeze in a pew to find a place to sit. And for the first time in my life, there are people who regularly attend my church whose names I don't know.

Officially, I serve as church librarian. This requires that I spend an hour or so a month keeping books organized, and several hours a month reading and reviewing a book for the church newspaper. Like Persis, I also purchase new books, so I'm always on the look out for books that will help fill out our collection. When I took over the library, it was rarely used, but now, while it's not used as often as I would like, it is used regularly.

I'm also a choir member, which requires me to attend choir practices whenever they are scheduled and sing on Sunday morning whenever we're slated to sing.

Unofficially, because I have 4 toddler grandchildren who attend, you'll find me in the nursery on at least two Sundays a month. While I may not know all the grown-ups in my church, I do know most of the under three crowd, along with their parents.  Knowing all these young families is one of the bigger blessings in my life right now.

2 comments:

  1. Lisa and Melissa, I appreciate your candor and willingness in working with the kiddos, even though it's outside of your comfort zone or preference. As a pastor's wife (who has sometimes been in charge of recruiting children's workers and has also been that worker), that really brings me joy to see!

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