For over 10 years we had a carnival in our backyard to provide a safe, scary-free zone for Halloween. When my son hit 4th grade, we ended the event. I missed it the past 2 years. I didn’t miss the craziness of preparation but the delight in seeing my kids’ friends and their families enjoying themselves. We put on a great party.
This year I had the opportunity to help run the games at our church’s Trunk or Treat. The event was last night. I stepped in about 2 weeks beforehand so it was a bit of a rush to figure it all out. However, all my years of training in our backyard, paid off. It all came rushing back. One thing that didn’t return, the stress. I must admit I was a bit nervous yesterday. My nervousness stemmed from the fact that I’m still new at this church and didn’t know many people. The setup and tear down physically exhausted me. The people and the event energized me.
I noticed something during the process of serving at a new church – it’s different. It didn’t have the dynamics past events had for me. I didn’t have to fall into the old patterns that surrounded other large parties I facilitated. I saw the rhythm of my new church shine during this event. The main focus clearly was outreach and connection. God threw a huge party yesterday and we just set it up for Him. I loved that. I saw His spirit move in conversation. I saw Him bring joy to children and their parents when they won a cupcake. It’s the simple things He was working in. It was fine that a few signs fell down and that I got feedback over the sound system. God was present. Our community saw Him at His best – loving people through His people.
Serving God doesn’t have to be as big as overseeing games for a Trunk or Treat. He used the generous families who opened the trunk of their car, set up a few decorations and greeted members of the community. He used Boy Scouts, who don’t even attend our church, to run games and find joy themselves. The brave ones who manned the food stations were heroes. God used the sweet families who donated a bag of candy to hand out but couldn’t be at the event. Each piece “counts” as service. God used it all.
What is holding you back from stepping into service at your church or in your community? Start small. Just start. I know you will find joy in unexpected places.
Dream Big! Pray Big!