I can’t tell you how heartening it is to witness our church family pull together to meet the needs of others during these very uncertain times. Not that I didn’t already know we had it in us, but watching so many step forward and take ownership of caring for their extended “family” is a visible sign that the “body” of Christ does respond well to the bumps and bruises and even the anxieties of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’d like to share a few observations with you both as to why and how people are responding in this way. First, and I guess this is the Sunday school answer but it is nonetheless true, a lot of our people really love Jesus. They are well connected to him so they tend to see life and circumstances as he does and are inwardly (by the Holy Spirit) prompted to respond as Jesus would.
Secondly, they are committed not just to Jesus but to our church, our faith family. New Life has always been rich in the sense that from the beginning there has been and remains a healthy “corps” of people who are committed to both our mission and the people who form our body. They demonstrate this by generous and consistent giving of their time, abilities and material resources, and are not reluctant to do so in a sacrificial sense that truly is a cost to them. We look out for each other. I experience this now by knowing our Community Group Leaders are maintaining frequent contact with their members, folks are making “random” phone calls to check on each other and our staff and Elders are also engaged in additional “touches” to assess the well-being of God’s “flock.”
It’s these committed people who typically move forward with us into what we call Team Membership. We could not exist without them. They are the ones who reliably provide financial resources so that when there are needs for benevolence or just to pay the light bills, we are able. These are the ones who provide loving care for our “littles,” even though they may be years away from the time they lovingly cared for their own. They are also the ones who teach our children and youth the foundational principles of our faith and who often give (invest) their time outside the walls of the church on behalf of your kids and mine. (I might add here we have some pretty spectacular teens who also are serving in a variety of ministries.) To all of them I say thank you with all my heart. You make all we do possible!
There is something else I can tell you. I know this to be true. We are not a perfect church. You will not always be in total alignment with everything we say or do or how we do it. Again, our goal is to do our best but with 900 people taking advantage of what we offer in ministry, there will be at least that many opinions and preferences as to how things should be done. To our credit, I would say we are always prepared to listen. I digress. Back to the main point. It is undeniable that those who press most closely to the center of things in our ministry life, those who know and want to know the details and the “hows” and the “whys”, those who see the imperfections and yet appreciate the heart, they prove to be the ones who find their church experience to be most fruitful and most fulfilling.
My encouragement to you is that you consider pressing in as deeply as you can, not just in a time of present crisis which we will get through together, but as a lifestyle which evidences the character of servanthood demonstrated by Christ. This is a rich life, a generous life, a rewarding life. This is New Life! Think About It.