Growing up, Good Shepherd Lutheran was my second home, and its members were my extended family. Many have stayed tuned in with what is going on in my life even into my adult years. Some of my fondest memories include those aunties and uncles.I smile and laugh at the memories made during church potlucks, campouts, talent shows, and sports events. I have fond memories of tagging along with my parents to the big ELCA gathering in San Francisco. What sticks with me most about my Good Shepherd family is the manini, or small things, like when one of the aunties or uncles took time to sit and chat with me. They listened to all of my stories and embraced my angst as a teenager, as they invited me to help them with projects around the church. I watched them love my family and others as we processed various challenges and grief. These are the people that modeled, alongside my mom and dad, what it means to serve God by serving the Church and the surrounding community.
I wonder how much I would have learned about service had I not been invited to join alongside those actively involved in the church. They, along with the work of the Holy Spirit, cultivated in me a desire to care for God’s people. It started out small. I remember the first time that I helped my mom with Altar Guild. I was four years old. She explained why and how we dispose of the leftover bread and wine from communion. Because I was tall for my age, and could wear the acolyte robe without tripping on it, I served as acolyte sooner than most. One of the elders taught me how best to hold the lighter and allow just enough flame to ensure the candle lights. He was also there for me with a lighter the first time that flame blew out. Aunties and uncles invited me to pull weeds, refill water pitchers, cook meals for the community, wash windows, and eventually teach VBS and assist in worship. They invited me to live life with them as we served God’s people. It was definitely one of the most formative times in my life and is the cornerstone of my own philosophy on serving.
My husband and I carried this way of thinking into parenting. As we served in ministry, we invited our kiddos, when appropriate, into everything that we did. They helped us set up spaces for worship and helped us clean up after worship. They were a part of the worship team and helped me in my speaking engagements. I watched them develop relationships with their own church aunties and uncles and thanked God for their positive influence in our children’s lives. I watch them serve in their own areas of influence while loving the people they cross paths with in ways that I never could. I’m hopeful that this legacy of service will carry on into the next generation.
There are many ways to serve here at Bethesda. A few roles come to mind; the front desk team during office hours and the welcome desk and ushering for worship services. These are simple ways to serve God and serve the church. It involves smiling and helping people feel welcome as they step into Bethesda. We’ve scheduled an Usher Orientation meeting for Sunday, June 26th following worship. This is for those who have been ushers, and those who would like to find out more about this important worship helper role. If you have any questions or would like to sign up to volunteer contact Amy at the church office.