On our church’s anniversary Sunday in September, when Reed or Steve asks us to share how we have been brought closer to God as a result of our fellowship, I feel that prompting to stand up and share. However, my gifts do notinclude standing up and sharing; so my insecurities get the better of me and I remain seated.
This year, though, that prompting kept prompting so I am compromising by sharing my reflections and thoughts from the security of my room. So here are the things that leap to mind when I reflect on what I’ve learned in being a part of Santa Barbara Community Church.
I feel thankful to be married to my best friend, Chris, even when he bugs me more than anyone else possibly could. We can both say that as a result of this body of believers, our marriage has deepened and we have the gift of many intentional friendships. And I don’t mean just from married people.
I love the opportunity to worship with other believers in the middle of the week for Home Group. It helps me refocus and re-center my often me-centered life. Our 3 boys eagerly anticipate the arrival of our homegroupies and I am thankful for the way our kids are shown examples of love and commitment to Christ by each of these people.
When I watch the Prayer Teams go to the front of the Sanctuary each Sunday during Communion, I am always moved closer to Christ. This ministry blesses me tremendously each week whether or not I ask for prayer. It is a powerful thing to watch believers praying for each other and it enables me to enter into worship more deeply.
Having been involved with Kelly Soifer and the Youth Ministry I feel like my life changed dramatically. God showed Himself to me in countless ways through Kelly’s and the other leaders’ service and in the life of the 2006 high school graduates.
Every April, our body retreats together. The word retreatin this setting seems a bit oxy-moronic, yes, but setting aside a weekend to spend with our church family has blessed my family in ways I never could have imagined. Again, my kids look forward to it every year and I think it is a great way to teach them – as well as ourselves – the importance of being involved and committed to a close body of believers. We have thoroughly enjoyed the teaching (OK, perhaps with the exception of the year of the PowerPoint-Old-Testament-Scholar, let’s be honest) and camaraderie that this weekend brings.
Seven Church Retreats ago (see paragraph above), Chris and I were fortunate enough
to dorm next to other families who had kids the same ages as ours. (Thanks, Jamie
Platt!) As a result of the obvious need to have the support of each other, we started a Play Group that has met weekly for the past seven years. The group has stayed together through multiple births and has literally provided a lifeline to me as I learn how to do this parenting thing. Some of my high school girls from my years in the youth ministry laugh at me because I call it my play group. They inform me that it isn’t mine rather it is David’s, Andrew’s, and Johnny’s. I do stand corrected, but I can’t seem to change my phrasing.
There are so many people in our body who care for our kids every Sunday. These Sunday School Teachers and Children’s Church Leaders provide the love and consistent care for my kids that I want them to have from other adults in their lives. It is a huge gift to give to the children and to the parents as well. It is a tangible reminder to me of when we dedicated our children in this church body, and you all agreed with a hearty I willto help us in raising our kids. Thank you.
Being involved with missionaries like the Dycks has spurred me on to a better understanding of how God wants me to live my life. To God be the glory.
Those who spend frugally and give generously, sacrificially and cheerfully encourage Chris and me to do the same. We have a lot of these people in our body!
These past years have been full of grief for our body. I am not one to provide trite answers for hearts full of confusion and grief. What I have learned from those hearts is how important it is to pursue Christ every single day, to listen for His voice and to let others be the body of Christ.
We’ve all heard John Piper’s quote, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Our satisfaction as a body – individually and corporately – comes from God being glorified in us. Our worship leaders and teaching pastors bless me immeasurably by reminding me of this simple truth every single Sunday afternoon.
So, I encourage you as you’ve encouraged me, no matter your place in life, let your light shine for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father. Our heavenly father. Thank you for walking before, beside, and behind me in this walk called faith.