BETHEL STEPS UP
One of the great joys of my life is watching the Holy Spirit working through members of the church. If we are prayerful and seeking to be led by the Spirit, we can expect to witness Him regularly at work in quiet but powerful ways through individual members of the body. The results of His moving in people’s hearts can often be startling. An instance of what I am talking about happened just this week.
For the last several months we have been hearing about the “Make Tax Time Pay” initiative. The E4C, a local nonprofit agency, knowing of Bethel reputation as a church that cares for the Bannerman Community, approached us to see if we would sponsor a Make Tax Time Pay site at our church. After months of advertising the request to the congregation, only three volunteers had stepped forward to staff the ministry.
The potential benefits of this program for people in poverty are enormous. It can quickly boost their incomes by enabling them to easily file their taxes and to access the government benefits to which they are entitled. However, the anemic response made it seem increasingly unlikely that the program would launch at Bethel.
Then one of our church members felt stirred by the Holy Spirit. Randall Huisman, Bethel’s Council Chair, announced at a meeting of our Managing Elders that he felt that it was unacceptable that we would not staff this program. God had called us to the Bannerman neighborhood, he said, and he believed God wanted us to take on the initiative as requested. A week or so later he shared his passion from the pulpit at both services.
The congregation heard Randall’s heart (and also learned that they did not have to be chartered accountants to play a part in the program.) People started signing up. In just a few days seventeen people had stepped forward, bringing the total number of volunteers to twenty—well beyond the 12 -14 minimally required to staff the program.
I was moved when I heard this good news, and shared it at a meeting of local Bannerman Leaders on Wednesday morning. It was met with expressions of happiness by those present. Suddenly, two other local organizations then asked if they could funnel volunteers into the program. We connected them with the E4C to get plugged in.
This is how the Spirit works in the church. The Spirit gifts church members in individual, unique ways. He lays a burden one member’s heart. That person steps up in obedience. Others follow his or her lead and obey the Spirit’s call in their own lives. These little acts of obedience add up sending out a ripple that causes a significant and sometimes unexpected impact.
May the light of Christ shine through this effort so that people will see just how wonderful is the One who inspires our efforts!--Pastor Tom
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