Putting Our Faith Into Action
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t even have to make your subject and your verb agree…You only need a heart full of grace…a soul generated by love.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Opportunities to serve in Ministry at Ashford United Methodist Church are organized using the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (Bishop Robert Schnase, 2007). The book describes practices that help shape and sustain congregations. Vibrant, growing, fruitful congregations repeat and deepen certain fundamental activities, seeking to perform them with excellence: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. These edgy words focus us on the appropriate work that helps us fulfill the mission of the church. Congregations offer the invitation and welcome of Christ, provide worship that connects us to God and to one another, offer opportunities for people to grow in Christ by learning in community, relieve suffering and improve the conditions of people in need through service and mission, and teach people to give of themselves.
Just how much is our church “run by volunteers?” All you have to do is look around each Sunday to be reminded just how important our volunteers are at Ashford. From 7:30 a.m. (and sometimes earlier), there are men and women getting the sound and video ready to go as well as setting up drums, guitars and the piano.
As you walk around the campus around 8 a.m., you find our trustee/ushers/coffee fellowship folks doing various jobs to make our church a welcoming place to be – walking the parking lot, setting up visitor cones, unlocking doors, opening up rooms, praying for the morning, brewing coffee, etc. In the Sanctuary, you see our greeters and members of our welcome team praying and preparing for every person who will walk through the doors that day. On first Sundays, in the Sacristy, the communion elements are being prepped and placed by volunteers. In each of our Sunday school rooms, volunteer leaders are setting up and praying for their classes that day. Our nursery volunteer arrives early to make sure the room is set up for all the little ones who will be in her care that morning. As people arrive, the welcome team provides information and directions. Greeters hand out worship guides and manage the Worship Center. Once the services start we are led in music by mostly volunteers; we hear sound that is being mixed by a volunteer, and we follow service slides that are run by a volunteer.
Our children’s sermon is given by a volunteer and all of the Sunday school/Children’s Church teachers & helpers are volunteers. It is amazing how much work has to be done for our Sunday gatherings to happen, and how much of that work is done by our volunteers.
And that is just on Sunday. It doesn’t even come close to covering all of the work that volunteers do here at our church. Volunteers work in the office during the week. Committees, classes, maintenance volunteers…something is always going on. If you attend an event and the Sanctuary or the Fellowship Hall is set up differently, then that work was done by volunteers. The list goes on and on.
At Ashford, we are so thankful for all our volunteers. To see a body of believers who not only give their time and talents so that their friends, family, neighbors, and strangers will have a place to park, place to sit, etc. but who also sincerely care for those people’s souls, it is incomprehensible outside of Christ. Thank God for our volunteers!
Contact any member of staff or any of our committees to see where YOU can Put Your Faith Into Action!