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Something Was Missing

Jesus said, “…as you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). “When you serve others, you serve Me…” Those were the words that went through my mind one Sunday morning after hearing Tim Bowers talk about the need for volunteers in the children’s ministry. For years, I had been going to Grace every Sunday just sitting in the sanctuary enjoying the worship, music, and teachings, yet something was missing. Was I serving Christ or just living a “self-serving” life? Feeling a strong “pull” to “get up and get going”, I immediately talked it over with my wife Deena, and we volunteered to serve in Grace Kids’ Preschool ministry. Having two kids in that ministry area already, Samuel (age 4) and Anna (age 2), we were somewhat familiar with this ministry. Even so, I still felt nervous… a bit intimidated. I didn’t have any experience, certainly not a degree in ministry, and we were fairly new parents as well. I soon found out that none of that was required and I realized how important it was to simply welcome each child with open arms and make them feel wanted and loved.

We started out with a 2 year old class. Each Sunday, we looked forward to seeing “our little ones” and at the end of the year we wanted to keep going. So we “stuck” with the same group and moved up with them to the 3 year old class and then finally the 4 year old class. It was amazing to see them grow… not just physically, but spiritually. They were beginning to understand that God made them, loves them, and wants to be their friend forever. When it was time for this group to move on to kindergarten, Deena and I decided that we wanted to start over with 2’s and do it all over again through 4’s.

It was somewhere during this group that I remembered the Garber family. They were Samuel’s teachers… a husband, wife, and kids all serving as a family. This is what I wanted for my family, to serve Christ together. To teach my children what it means to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). My kids were excited to join in this journey and they are still doing it with us today (Samuel 13, and Anna 11). Anna now takes the lead with crafts and Samuel has his group of boys which have no interest in crafts and only want to play. Now, Samuel is talking about leaving us next year and moving up with this group to kindergarten! It’s truly a blessing to see God moving my kids in a direction and see them follow Him.

There are often “what if’s” in life. What if we had never responded to the call to serve?

Before we began to serve we blended in, didn’t feel obligated to anything, and weren’t held accountable. It's a big church. There was really no pressure. However, often times we felt alone… without a church family. Now, our “family” is huge. Not only have we developed relationships with our groups of “little ones”, but also with their families. And not only that, but with all of the other volunteers in the ministry as well. Has it been easy? What is it that Tom Oyler says? Something like… “none of us are perfect and anything can happen”. Yeah, that’s definitely true with preschool age kids! Has it been worth it? More than I can express in this short blog or will ever know while on this Earth!  

Jason Bennett

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