Three years ago I stepped down from a volunteer position running a ministry I loved, in order to take on a full-time ministry manager position at another local church.
It was like leaving a child behind.
I had birthed the ministry, grown with it, and been richly blessed by it. I had witnessed many miracles of God's provision through it, and in fact, I'm writing a book about it.
There were many tears shed on my part, but I believed I was following God's leading and call in making the move. I knew I was handing the reigns over to a woman who had a similar passion for the community and that lessened the blow a bit. For the past few years she has loved and nurtured the ministry, keeping it going strong.
Then a few weeks ago, I sat in the sanctuary of that former church and watched as the baton was passed again to co-leaders. One started with us a few years ago as garden manager. The other was my "brain." I was the upfront vision caster and she was the keeper of a million details and queen of our volunteer spreadsheets relishing in her behind-the-scenes anonymity.
As I watched her speak that morning, tears streamed down my face. I was so proud of her for moving out beyond her comfort zone to take on a co-leadership role and so honored to see that God was continuing to use the ministry to impact the community.
Today was the first outreach since the two took on the leadership mantel. Despite a very rainy morning, a number of organizations in the area benefited from the practical acts of service performed.
This year, I was able to participate as a volunteer and I was so excited to experience the day from the "other side!" I signed on as photographer and drove around to the different locations capturing pictures of the good deeds.
At the church, breakfast bags were assembled for a local soup kitchen, snack packs were put together for an after-school program, and hygiene kits were created to hand out to the homeless.
A team went out to the on-site location of the after-school program to clean and organize four of their classrooms. It was there I heard a conversation between a parent of a child in the program and our team leader about what was going on and where the group was from. People are always so surprised that an "outside" group would take an interest in helping to beautify/clean/improve their space.
Cares Day provides that opportunity to explain what we do for them is an outpouring of our love for Christ. Serving like this gives us the chance to share our faith in a way that might not otherwise be possible.
I left the second group knee deep in pencils, books, and craft pieces to head over to a local free clinic where the next group of volunteers were beautifying the grounds.
Although the rains came and went, they managed to plant and mulch, bringing beauty to an area dominated by concrete and asphalt.
The next stop was the warehouse facility of an organization that primarily champions the needs of single parent families. Among the many services they offer, they provide a food pantry that includes much needed items like diapers. Volunteers sorted the diapers by size and bagged them up 25 at a time. After making quick work of that task, they moved on to a second one.
Two of the projects had to be cancelled because of the weather, so my last stop was at a local park where a team bagged trash. They remarked how they felt God's presence as He held up the rains while they worked, then even sent a garbage truck by to pick up the trash, just as they finished! I love that God is always in the details.
Seven years ago, I was obedient to the prompting of the Spirit. I knew God wanted us to move beyond the walls of our church and into the community. I had no idea how, but God led the way. Through this outreach and many others, He continues to impact lives years later. I may have been the first person at the helm of CommunityConnections, but it successfully continues on without me because it was never me who was in charge.
What is He prompting you to do today? Don't brush aside the nudge. It's been said that God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. You can be part of the miracle He's doing or you can miss the blessing. I'm glad I jumped on board and I'm excited for those who have heeded the call since He moved me on.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21.