As we head into the fall season of our ministry calendar my heart and mind are mixed with both excitement and expectation. I’m excited about our Half Time ministries getting started, and I’m filled with expectation of what God will be doing in and through the lives of all involved.
There’s little to compare with the opportunities for spiritual encouragement that are available through this mid-week gathering. From our dinner preparation team who so graciously serve up a tasty meal every week, to the many children’s ministry, youth and adult leaders who prepare a spiritual meal from God’s Word every week, opportunities for fellowship, growth in Christ and spiritual encouragement abound.
When this last spring I got word that our beloved head chef, Pat Bonynge, would be stepping back from her “full time” role in our kitchen, I had concerns about our ability to be ready with a new meal preparation team for this fall. Then when our youth pastor, Tyler, announced his resignation last month I wondered again about our readiness this fall-who would spearhead the ministry to our teens? Topping it off, we’ve been saying good-bye to some of our most capable and well-loved AWANA leaders who are moving away from our area, Doug Starr moving to Oregon among them. All of a sudden, it seemed, we would be experiencing an enormous leadership deficit all across the spectrum of our ministries.
But God is faithful. He foresaw our needs. This is His ministry, after all. And He has been quietly preparing and prompting others to be ready to step into these vital places of ministry need. In the kitchen, Joe Smith, Ken Rauh, Lauren Hong and Missy Olson are all stepping forward to partner with Pat by moving into a weekly leadership rotation with her. And the meal prep team that has faithfully served with Pat is holding steady – ready to support the new leaders there as well. What a blessing to have these willing servants carrying the load of preparing dinner for a crowd of 100 to 150 every week.
But what about our youth leadership needs with the departure of youth pastor, Tyler? There too we’re seeing key volunteers stepping up to fill vital roles. No stranger to our youth ministries, Abby McAlister begins this fall as our youth ministries intern, and many of our long-time youth volunteer leaders will be partnering with her to carry the load. Even our elder, Don Harootian, will be stepping in to fill a vital teaching role on Wednesday nights.
And what about the vacancies created by departing AWANA leaders? Gratefully, Brad Harber will once again be on board to provide overall oversight there. But with fifty to sixty young guys and girls anticipated in the AWANA ministry, we’ll need another fifteen-plus energetic adult leaders partnering with him to carry it forward…and again, most of meeting that need looks to be in place (though Brad would love to find a couple more willing workers).
There is just no way to overestimate the value of all these people-to-people connections for growing up God’s family in His Word. Add to these ministries the adult class gatherings led by the Tettelbachs and Suess’ and spiritual encouragement will be once again offered and received all across our Sanctuary campus.
The Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippians come to mind, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now…” To all you partners in our Half Time ministry, “Thank you for filling out our leadership teams bringing encouragement to our Sanctuary family and community. It’s fun to be on God’s ministry team with you. I can’t wait to see what He will do through us as we serve together in His love to all He brings our way.”