I recently had a chance to help lead chapel for the children in the New Life Center. This is such a tremendous ministry in our church. Diane Oakley is leading a ring of folks to make it possible, and we are so thankful to be back able to do it after a 24-month forced pause. It gives us an opportunity every week to have face-to-face instruction with the students. We're able to raise the overall spiritual temperature across the New Life Center, and I have it on good authority that even some of the staff are being blessed by the lessons. Many of you know that the parents / grand-parents / legal guardians of many of these children have no church to call their home. You can also infer by the way I worded the last sentence that some of these kids have less-than-completely-stable home circumstances. It is an incredible chance for us to impress upon them the truths of God's Word each week. In doing so, we hope that the relationships we're building will directly affect the "success" of Sunday and Wednesday evening programming in the days ahead.
Obviously, "success" is much more than just a high attendance number, but we always thank God when we have the chance to touch as many lives as possible. Between our recent Easter Egg Hunt out-reach event, and our renewed emphasis within the New Life Center, we hope in the weeks and months ahead to gain momentum across all of SONquest's weekly events. One of these, Wednesday bible study, is ramping-up in May. It should hopefully go without writing, but we will continue to hold a weekly bible study for children every Wednesday evening. Once per month, however, we are going to dial it up. At 6:00, we will retrieve children when the New Life Center shuts down for the day, bring them to the Fellowship Hall for supper, and at 6:30, take them back down stairs for a distilled Vacation Bible School session over the course of 90 minutes. By doing this each month, we will take a large load of preparation, stress, and physical exertion off of our volunteers WHILE expanding V.B.S. to 12 nights!! All the while, stoking the slow burn of a robust out-reach effort throughout the whole year!
I was talking about my chapel lesson before I veered so far off course. Anyway, Diane and Ann Watts couldn't teach one week recently, so Ms. Leigh played the piano and was once again saddled with me leading the study! In it, the children had an object lesson of unique tools that do specialized functions. The lesson was two-fold. First, we are all created specially when specific gifts and talents. Second, no tool will serve its purpose unless it is in the hand of someone who knows how to use it. Assuming I am a tool, who is holding the handle? Am I a vessel that is willingly allowing the Master Craftsman to use me for His good work and purposes? Am I like a screw-driver, laying on a table, unable to twist myself because I won't let His hand hold me?
In the months ahead, we as individuals, and we as a church corporately, must work to actively avail ourselves to the hand of God. As we ask God to reveal to us a vision for the future, we must be willing tools seeking His hand. We will seek His will for our future, but we must first seek His face. As we know Him, enjoy intimacy with Him, and allow Him to be our primary source of identity, we'll be much more malleable. As we ask Him to "lead, guide, and direct" us, we'll be more likely to submit to His leadership, better able to follow His direction, and more sensitive to sensing His guidance as we move forward. Lets seek the face of God, the will of God, and the hand of God. Join me in praying that He'll reveal to us a vision for the future, and a strategy for making it a reality.
I invite all church members to take part in a strategic planning process I'll be implementing in May. If you are a committee chair, ministry leader, or out-reach volunteer, you're more than just invited; you're encouraged and I'll be bugging you personally very soon! We'll meet together adjacent to May's Deacons' meeting, and we will spend time seeking the will of God. In the months ahead, we will strive to clarify a vision for the future of our church from 30,000 feet, and we'll begin to articulate some component goals as we begin to work in that direction. Whether it's sharpening our blades, strengthening our steel, reinforcing our body, making our handle more ergonomic, or even adding an electric motor, may we all be tools in the hand of the Builder that He would have us to be!
To the work, to the work! We are servants of God,
let us follow the path that our Master has trod;
with a balm of His counsel our strength to renew,
let us do with our might what our hands find to do!
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds