Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful and wanted to share my gratitude as we all get ready to celebrate this significant holiday.
I was asked recently how I have seen the grace of Jesus in my church, and the very first thought that came to mind was our youth ministry. We were faced with a difficult decision about how to keep the momentum of our youth ministry through the summer after Brian and Tamra concluded that their ministry with the youth was complete. At the time, I had a few resumes of potential ministers on my desk for consideration, one of which was from someone within our church community. As I informed the church body of our position and strategy of how to keep the momentum, I received another letter of interest in the position.
For anyone who has been involved with hiring someone, you know the trepidation that one goes through in the process. You doubt your intuition, your discernment, and your options throughout the process. I have always believed that God will provide the local church body with the people to accomplish the ministry that He has for that church community. I have wrestled with when it is necessary to reach outside the church community to meet a ministry need – and I believed that this was one of those times.
I felt compelled to go back to my value of raising up ministers of the church from the ministers in the church. I knew Ben and Becca would fit in the role, and I knew that God was in our decision to appoint Ben as our minister to youth. However, I need to be honest, he didn’t demonstrate the attributes one would humanly attribute to a youth minister – but I knew God was in it.
By grace, we could not have done better than Ben and Becca!
I have watched them lead the youth into deep discipleship. I have watched them engage the students on the patio with lunch every Wednesday. I have watched them recruit new youth workers and empower the youth to reach their friends and classmates. I have watched them serve as foster parents and seen them fulfill that role with dignity, grace, and love. I have seen them reach out to parents of the youth to empower and stimulate conversations with their kids. I have even walked with Ben as he pursued and was hired as a bus driver with District 11 – and I have watched him leverage this position for ministry to the other drivers and bus assistants. Ben and Becca are truly a gift from God and a demonstration of grace to our church community.
And, it isn’t just Ben and Becca. I have seen the grace of God demonstrated through our entire staff. If I were to scour resumes and head-hunting websites and services, I do not think we could assimilate such a quality staff. Few churches twice our size, if any, have a better staff. This was readily apparent to our elders at our latest elder retreat. Every single one of our staff members were first a part of our church body before they responded to the call of God to serve the church. We are grateful to the team God has placed in our church family.
And it isn’t just our church staff. I have seen the grace of God demonstrated through our entire church family. Do you realize that over 70% of our church body is actively engaged in hands-on ministry? We are truly a body of ministers. We believe that every body part has a purpose and is significant to the life of the body. I have watched as each of you has found your place of service in the family of God known as HarvestDowntown. Thanks be to God and His grace in bringing together such an amazing body that refracts His Light to the world and to one another. If you are still trying to find your spot on the tree, come to HarvestAware on Friday, November 30, (RSVP Terasue at firstname.lastname@example.org).
This Thanksgiving, my heart is warmed by the body of Christ as she demonstrates His glory.