Saturday, September 28, 2013

Serving for Christ

As usual, my pastor delivered a very compelling and thought provoking message this evening, and has me considering what my own next steps will be as far as involvement at Grace Community Church.  The key passage was from Romans 12:3-8:

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

So what are my gifts?  I've actually considered this a few times in the past.  I'm certainly not gifted to prophecy, nor teach.  I've found myself in positions of leadership, both in my church communities and in my career path, and I've enjoyed times of serving.

In the past, I've sort of fallen into roles at the churches I've attended, though in hindsight, it was God nudging me in the directions I found myself going in.  I served for over 10 years as a youth counselor, and another four as a drama ministry leader.  In addition, I spent almost a year as a deacon at the Baptist church I attended, which was a great honor that I was voted into by the church body.  Following a turbulent separation from that church after the pastor was fired due to misappropriation of church funds, many at the church either left or were driven from the church due to a number of issues with the remaining leadership.  My family did not care for the direction the church went, including the poor treatment of many, and we were looking for a church closer to where we lived, so we elected to leave.

That was when we began attending Grace.  As is true with many, we found ourselves less involved at first.  We were expecting our child, and it was just too much for us to consider at that time getting involved in any of the ministries.  Honestly, we were a bit burned out after our experience at our former church, and so we enjoyed just attending for a while.  A few months after our daughter was born, my wife decided she wanted to get involved in the drama ministry at Grace.  I was still feeling a bit burnt out, and not sure about how I wanted to serve, I waited.  My wife passed away about a month later.

It was several years before I felt the urge to serve again.  I started slowly, following my wife's approach by joining the drama ministry.  It was hard at first, since my wife had been my inspiration, and without her, I felt kind of lost.  But following God's lead, it felt more and more natural, and I greatly enjoyed my two years with the group, acting in many sketches during the Sunday morning services.  But then the plug was pulled, and the ministry just sort of fizzled out.  At that point, I really didn't know what direction to go in.  I really wasn't ready to return to youth ministry.  The kid's ministry was constantly calling me to volunteer to help in my daughter's class, and I tried it a few times.  But I felt extremely out of place, and knowing it isn't one of my strengths, and despite feeling very guilty for not volunteering in that ministry since they desperately need volunteers, I continue to decline the requests to help in the classrooms.  It is just too far out of my comfort zone.  I've had a few other opportunities to serve, but nothing in the areas I feel are my strengths, and I continue to struggle with where I fit into the church.

I would really like to do missions, but I already travel so much in my job that I hate to be away from my daughter more than I am.  I've never done a mission trip before, but I can't help but be drawn to opportunities in Africa, particularly Kenya and Uganda, as well as in the US.  There may be an opportunity to help in Moore, OK, which is not far at all from the Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, where parts of my Directorate within the FAA are headquartered.  That may be a real possibility.

For the past several years, my daughter and I have been blessed by the Grace Adventures Day Camp each summer.  The camp is a wonderful ministry and a Godsend, as the young adults who work the camp have taken my daughter under their wings and provided an incredible environment for kids to learn about the love of Jesus through the teaching and role models at the camp.  Personally, it was great to know my daughter was being blessed through this ministry by the young women who cared for her.  I only hope that things don't change too much next year with new leadership.  I've felt God nudging me into a serving role in some capacity with the camp, but I'm still not sure how.  My job certainly doesn't allow for much due to my role there. So I'm kind of in limbo.

I really want to be involved in something, but I just don't know where I fit.  Being a single parent doesn't make it any easier, though I know that's just an excuse.  God will make anything possible if it's where he wants me.  I need to be involved somewhere, and I need to figure it out.  I'll just keep praying and look for God's direction.  But I get it.  I need to be involved.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

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