• Did you know that, every single week, there are a few elderly members of our Body who are picked up and driven to church? Did you know that the same is done every week for a few who have disabilities?
• Did you know that every single week the homeless are being fed in Alameda Park, and are told about God who loves them?
• Did you know that every single week, low-income kids from the Eastside, Westside and Old Town Goleta, are getting help with their homework, and are forming important relationships with adult mentors?
• Did you know that every single week a group comes up to church and gardens for several hours?
• Did you know that every single week, a big-hearted group of women comes together to volunteer their time to care for children so that some young moms can keep their hearts leaning in to what God has to teach them from his Word?
• Did you know that every single DAY, every single week, in coffee shops all over Santa Barbara, groups of two or more gather for the purpose of growing in understanding and love of Jesus?
This list can, and does, go on and on. It is all of these unseen activities and ministries, under the headship of Jesus, which makes a church a church. In I Cor. 12 (out of the Message), we’re told: The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. –You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this.
What is your “part?” Did you know that you have one? Santa Barbara Community Church began almost 30 years ago as a small group of young and inexperienced people with a vision for church inspired by the church in Acts – all members contributing their gifts for the greater good of the larger church body. Today, almost 3 decades later, we are a different church in many ways. We are larger; we are more experienced; we own instead of rent; we have more staff. We are also the same church in many ways. We are still a group of forgiven sinners. We also still need each other in order to grow in Christ.
In the “old days,” I can recall Sundays where worship leaders forgot the words to the songs they were singing –and one Sunday when the worship leader forgot to show up. We set up and took down our own folding chairs. Sometimes a sermon got “interrupted” with a question. Sharing time in the service was sometimes… shall we say, sketchy? At the time though, a beautiful advantage of our small scale was that we could see the opportunity to contribute through our gifts. Now, on the other hand, we enjoy such a depth and breadth of talent and giftedness in our church that it can be daunting to figure out a way and a place to plug in and contribute to larger body life.
So you may ask… what is my “part?” Am I really needed? What is my ministry? How do I find my place? There is only one way to find out: begin with prayer, and by quietly serving Jesus. Notice I did not say, “by quietly serving SBCC.” We are not called to personally invest in making Santa Barbara Community Church successful. Our “success” as a church is to be an integrated group of diverse members who are committed to loving and serving Jesus together – an every member ministry.
Take up the every-member ministry challenge and grow in your relationship with Christ by serving Him – in the church and outside of it, in visible ways and in hidden ways. Look over the announcements, check out the church website, talk to others and ask how they live out their faith in service. God has a purpose and a place for each one of us – let us jump in, serve Jesus, and see where He takes us together as a church family.