After college, I was a single twenty-something living and going to church by myself. As I had always done, I gravitated toward serving in music ministry at my church. This was my thing – my place to serve. I was confident there, my passion was there, and I believed I had something to offer.
One day after practice but before our service, I wandered down to the Kid’s ministry area looking for someone. I’m a little ashamed to say that up until that day (mind you, I had been attending this church for a good two years at that point) I had never once set foot in the children’s area. I had no reason to! I mean, I had no kids, I wasn’t serving there, and it was in a part of the building that you’d never go to unless you were specifically going for one of those reasons.
But I was pretty impressed with what I saw…colorful posters on the walls, all kinds of craft supplies and other fun “kid’s ministry” items. I made a comment to the children’s pastor who happened to be down there. “Wow, I’ve never been down here before. It’s pretty cool!” She responded, “Really?! Well, you should come down more often, maybe you can serve sometime!” “Yeah, maybe!” I said.
But in my mind I thought, “Yeah, probably not. I mean, I don’t have kids, I don’t know anything about teaching or taking care of kids, and I already do so much with music. Why on earth would I serve there?” Little did I know that God would keep reminding me of that interaction as He took me through some humbling seasons with serving in other churches.
One of those instances happened while attending a church in Boston. It was a pretty small church and just about everyone there was younger than me….including the Pastor! Again, as I had always done, I tried to get involved with music. But for some reason, they didn’t seem to want or need me even though the music ministry team was very small. I noticed the church didn’t have a keyboard and no one ever played keys, so I purchased my own keyboard with the intention of making myself “more desirable” to the team. Not only did my plan not work, it straight up backfired on me when I got a call asking if they could borrow my keyboard for SOMEONE ELSE to play. Someone else?! Really? That moment was a really low point for me. I knew God was humbling me, but it was NO FUN to go through it.
However, I did learn a few things from this experience...
I realized the servant’s heart I thought I had (because I had given so much time to serving through music in the past) was more about me doing something I loved and seeking recognition than it was sacrificially giving to my church community.
A few years later, after moving to Dubuque and finding a new home church here at Hope, I found myself heading into an Easter season with no opportunity to serve. I was not asked to be a part of the Easter music team at Grand River Center that year. All of a sudden, God brought to mind the memory of when I wandered to that kid’s ministry area so long ago.
A somewhat wiser me recognized this as an opportunity for me to SERVE in whatever capacity I was needed.
I wasn’t needed for music that year. But when I asked Laurie if she needed help in the nursery, guess what her answer was? A resounding YES! So I said, “Sign me up. I can help.” This was still before I had kids of my own, and I felt completely ill-equipped and not really sure what I was doing.
But I showed up, rolled up my sleeves, and just loved on those kids.
Mind you, I was pretty worn out by the end of that service! But I realized I could do it, and even more importantly, God worked hard on my heart that day. I was stepping out into something I was not comfortable with, had no background in, and was frankly a little nervous to try. But I got through it, and out of it came a new love and joy in pouring into these little ones’ lives.
After that day, I began serving monthly in the nursery and/or Hope Kids (while still serving in music ministry as well), and my confidence and love for our Hope kiddos grows each time. It took time for God to change my heart and mind about what it means to just serve when and where it’s needed, and to realize that my ability to say yes to serving has very little to do with my passion, calling, or comfort level. The simple fact is this: God calls us to serve; He equips us to serve; and He changes our hearts for the better when we say yes.
Learn more about serving at Hope Church: www.ehope.org/serve
You may recognize our guest blogger, Shelby Moser. Shelby is on staff at Hope Church as the Office Coordinator, as well as serves faithfully in a number of ministries, most noticeably, on stage singing and playing the keyboard.