Updated: Feb 14
Recently we said good bye to Mark and Martha Hansen. They moved out of town to be closer to family. They had been in Dubuque for 44 years and served at Hope Church for 18 years. Not only did they serve for 18 years, but they served EVERY Sunday at the 9am service at Kennedy Campus.
If you've brought your children to the nursery on a Sunday morning at Kennedy Campus you've most likely met them. The kids would warm up to Martha so quickly! Because she was there consistently each week the kids had a familiar face to greet them EVERY Sunday morning. WOW, what commitment! Martha really believed it was important that the children have a face they recognized, and it definitely paid off. Mark was my right hand and before me, he was THE hand!! He was the quiet guy who would greet you EVERY Sunday and help get you a pager. If I needed a Sunday off he had me covered. If I texted him to make sure everything was ok, he would always respond with, "Once we got the fire out we were fine!"
These two people not only poured into my life, but also the lives of our children and parents. They were an asset to our community at Hope Church. I asked Mark why they served - this was his response.
"Martha and I have been attending Hope for about 20 years. Martha got involved serving with the nursery very quickly and I did shortly after her. It has been a wonderful experience for us. We have met and become friends with some amazing kids and parents. Jesus commanded us to serve others, to use our gifts in a way to help others. Our passion has been with the little ones, God's blessings and the future of our church. As a side benefit, we have been blessed by doing this. If you want to get the most out of your church experience, volunteer in an area that you feel passionate about. Others will benefit from you and you will benefit from them. It's a win-win!!"
This prompted me to ask other volunteers why they serve - here are a few responses:
"Because God gave this calling for me to serve Him, share the Gospel to these sweet little children. It is not easy but I know I can always count on Him to help me. By serving I got to learn about Him in many different ways through the lessons we teach to the kids. They also are a delight to my soul when they sing and pray to Him. I love when they memorize their Bible verses."
They also are a delight to my soul when they sing and pray to Him.
"I was roped into serving by the bossy lady in charge of the children's ministry (Laurie). Seriously, I have a Bible school education, this is as close as I get to using my degree. I really like being with the pre-K kids. I love watching them make those connections for the first time."
"I know that Jesus loves children. Matthew 18:10 and 19: 13-15. I came to Christ as a young child. Jesus can make a difference in a child's life, and children can make a difference in the world."
"I’ve often heard that one way to know if you really understand something is to try to teach it to someone else. Sometimes it’s good for us as adults to return to simple definitions we understood as a child. When we say that God is wise, we mean that He knows what is best. When we say that He is loving, we mean that He does what is best. And when we say that He is faithful, we mean that He always does what He says He will do. These simple truths remain true, even as we grow and understand more and more of who God is. When I find myself struggling through a difficult situation, these simple definitions help me cling to the truth."
We are always looking for volunteers to help in children ministry and you do NOT have to teach, if you can rock a baby you're in!! Maybe you have been thinking of getting involved. I encourage you to take the next step, make a difference, build relationships and serve Jesus.