Sometimes as a pastor you wonder if the message really gets through. And then there are days when you are reminded that you are part of an amazing group of people who no only get it, but truly live to serve.
At Nags Head Church we have purposefully built our ministries around and on the shoulders of our volunteers. At many churches, especially those like ours that are nowhere near mega-status, nor can be, congregants are content to let the ministries of the church be run by the pastor, or if he's fortunate enough, the pastor and staff. That mindset totally misses the dynamic of the church that the Apostle Paul shared with the Ephesian church. It's our belief that in a healthy church every part(ner) does his/her part.
That implies that every one who belongs to the local church has a part to play. Gifts, passion, skills, and life experiences all come into play, making each partner in the church different and with the potential to offer something significant when Christ has His place of lordship in their lives. And it doesn't have to be the "mature" who contribute. More often than not it is the "newbies" - those young in their faith whose enthusiasm sparks a fire under the rest of us.
All this week our church is providing shelter and meals to a group of homeless residents in our community. We do this twice a year during the winter months, part of a cooperative effort among other churches here. This ministry in our church is put together, organized and led totally by volunteers. Our small groups take on the bulk of the meals and providing chaperones who spend the nights.
Today and tonight we're in the middle of a snow storm, with winds gusting at 40 MPH and temps dipping into the low 20's. The roads are getting iced over, making driving icy and dicey. Yet, a team of volunteers came in late this afternoon ready to serve a meal they had prepared to seven men and two women who have nowhere else to go. None of our volunteers complained about the weather, or let it dampen their spirits at all. They served with gladness.
One even went back out into the storm to pick up a food item for one of our guests. He didn't have to do that. In fact, no one said, "Hey, would someone go out and pick up some tuna fish?". He just got up and and went for it.
But that's the way these folks at our church serve, not just in an outreach like this, but in all the varied ministries that are the nuts and bolts of the church. I was there tonight, more as an observer than anything else. Also because I knew there would be a great meal! But I found myself thankful for these ministers - these partners in the faith using their gifts, passions and skills to invest the life of Christ they have received into those who may or may not yet know Him.
Tomorrow the roads will be worse. But more who have committed to serving will do their best to come and do their part. Perhaps others, who have four wheel drive vehicles and have said they will step up and provide transportation if needed will do just that. But together, with hearts that seek after Christ, the job will be done to the glory of God. They see i as just doing their part.
This is one of those latter times as a pastor.