Who We Are As Growing Christians (cont'd)
We SERVE with Uncommon Generosity
Hi, I'm Paula Taylor, the Pastor of Adult Discipleship, and I'll be sharing about SERVING together and how we can find God's purpose for us as individuals and as a Church. Let me just start by saying I find God absolutely amazing! Everything God desires from us He has already done in us through the way He created us. So, what does God want from us? That's the question that makes us all very nervous. "So if I decide to join the church, will I be hounded to become a worker-bee?" I can understand your reservations.
When my husband, Bill, and I moved to the coast we heard about a new church start-up in our neighborhood. We were so excited to attend that first Sunday with our two daughters. Cara was two years old and Ashley was three months old. As we dropped the girls off at the nursery we were met with complete mayhem! There were LOTS of children, with very FEW nursery workers. One desperate woman grabbed me by the sleeve and begged me to stay and help. I was torn. After all, I spent all week caring for my own two little children and was hoping for one hour to focus on God! However, being a fairly decent person, I mustered enough grace to stay and help. I went home disappointed since they had only one worship service, and I had missed it. Bill said it was a great worship time and a wonderfully welcoming community of people! "How nice," I secretly thought to myself.
The following Sunday, with increased anticipation we returned. First stop was the nursery, nothing had changed! Two ladies, millions of kids! "Thank goodness you're here, please stay and help, if you don't we'll just die!" I bit my tongue and swallowed hard enough to hold back my true feelings and resigned myself to another miserable hour of sacrifice. I was so grateful when the time was up, all the parents had retrieved God's "precious" children and I could go home. I love children, mind you...my own and those who are being cared for by their parents!
Third week, same story. Only this time when I went to sign my daughters' name on the register I noticed my name printed at the top of the page next to "Nursery Coordinator." The next day I called the pastor telling him of my experience. He was appalled at my bad attitude, my lack of Christian character, and my unwillingness to serve as Christ would want. I was devastated, and felt horribly guilty. And guess what? Bill and I never went back to that church.
The following week, with the encouragement of friends, we attended Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. We hesitantly entered the nursery area where we were greeted by Carl Feldmeth, a grandfatherly saint who was a calm and gracious presence. He promised that our children would be well cared for and encouraged us to go and enjoy the worship service. I did! When I returned he laid Ashley back into my arms with a commitment to meet us each week in the nursery where he would personally make sure she was safe and comfortable.
WOW! What a difference Carl made to my experience of church (I'm sure the children were grateful as well!). God created Carl for a purpose, and that purpose intersected my life and my family. I knew that He created me for a purpose, too. I just needed to find my own place and discover what it was that I could contribute. In those early years of church involvement I didn't know how to articulate it, but I knew that working with children was definitely not what I was created to do. Clearly, it was for Carl! I wanted to serve, I just didn't understand where.
Since those early years, I have learned three important truths about life in God's community of faith, the church!