I think I’ve found a church to call home. But that’s another tale for another time.
I met with the youth and family pastor at Uptown PCA the other day. I had filled out a visitor card the week before, and within a day he had called me up and scheduled lunch so that he could get to know me and I could get to know the church a little better. I found out during the conversation that Uptown, although a church of only 650 or so (about 1/3 of them being children, which is awesome), has upwards of 13 elders and half-a-dozen paid interns. Uptown sees themselves as a “leadership greenhouse,” training up men and women to lead and serve, and, in many cases, sending them out to plant churches around Charlotte and the world. Pretty neat stuff.
It amazed me that they can pay so many people to serve in the church–they’re a very affluent congregation. Coming from Westminster in Dayton, the whole idea of paid interns and paid assistant pastors who teach youth, Sunday school classes, and counsel families is totally foreign. Obviously I knew it was common among many churches, but it was alien to my experience. And with potential internships opening up in the next year or two, I may find myself as one of those paid staff members, serving the local body in much the same way I served Westminster, except this time with a pay check.
It’s gotten me thinking. I have grown up my whole life being served in the church by people who never asked for a pay check, yet, simply because of their love of God and the church, served me and taught me and sacrificed so much of their time. And I have taken them for granted. And haven’t encouraged them when they’ve taken a break from serving.
So this is a post in honor of those men and women at Westminster who faithfully served (and still serve) our church, never demanding a dime or even any thanks. Thanks to Jim and Dee Price, Ryan and Sarah Ferguson, Adam and Kristi Dyer, Jared and Emily Reitnauer, Tiller Tomazin, Jason and Alison Wassar, Stephanie Wood, Chris and Rachel Wesson, Jamie and Bethany Smith, and the many others who I’ve left out for constantly and consistently serving the youth of Westminster and asking nothing in return. You have been a big part of making me who I am. And you are a big reason why I’m in ministry today. I will never forget you…
It’s my prayer that as we all mature in Christ we will be far more quick to extend our gratitude for our volunteer servants in the church, consistent in encouraging them in their service, and faithful in supporting them when they need a rest from their weary work. “Give honor to whom it’s due,” Paul writes. And honor is most assuredly due to our volunteers.