This post is really made with heartfelt thanks and thoughts of those who "labour with me" in kids and family ministry, in particular in the regular weekly activities that happen.
At every opportunity that I am humanly capable of (because I am human and I do run out of time and energy!) I try to praise and encourage people who volunteer with me. They are the wheels that make the motion happen! The local church is a place where we can serve, where we can experience team, where we can experience something of what it is to serve in ways that aren't just using words. I've just finished reading Bill Hybel's book about the power of volunteering; the joy that comes from volunteering, the massive impact that can be made by the things we do and the way a church can not only transform itself from self-centredness and consumeristic me-pleasing but transform society. The book is packed full of examples and encouragements. Do read it, if you are involved in any sort of team. Or want to be! :-)
I'd planned a lunch today for parents and children aged 8-11, sent out an information letter, tear off slip etc and did my best to estimate the numbers fairly accurately for the couple doing the catering after the morning service. As the number of bodies increased, we realised that, instead of 60, there were over 90 present! I really did pray an increase over the 3 soup pots, as did other team members - there simply wasn't enough there and guess what - everyone was fed. Thank you God.
Then the ABSOLUTE STARS (the 8s to 11s leaders) took 52 children away to play for 45 minutes while I introduced a new curriculum to the assembled parents.
I became somewhat indisposed after a short closing prayer made to dedicate this new curriculum up to God (if you were there, then you know what I mean; it wasn't planned for; like I would deliberately embarrass myself right in front of 50 watching parents!!) I got up to find that the 8s to 11s leaders and other supporters had washed the dishes, cleared the tables, put all the chairs away, were hoovering the floors, had packed down all my AV equipment....and countless other tasks. I love to see the outward manifestations of the presence and power of God but hand on heart I love just as much the warm feelings and sense of envelopment that comes with leading a team who serve; people who see a need and go meet it without being asked. Who understand what you need to have accomplished next and go work towards it with you - not for you - WITH you. It's like a deep, unspoken language. To me, it represents the Trinity; of mutual and unending interdependence, motivated by love.
Guys - if you're reading this (and I'll be writing to you during the week!) - I love you and appreciate you!