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We all have different gifts & styles of serving

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

In the midst of a busy end-of-program-year season, Amanda and I were able to take a few hours a month ago to attend the Twin Cities Faith Formation Network in Lakeville with children, youth, and family workers and volunteers. The topic for the day was all about engaging volunteers in the congregation, not just in youth ministry. The first speaker, Nancy Thompson, spoke about how important it is to recruit and develop volunteers and leaders, not just to start and develop programs. She noted in particular how important it is to build and grow relationship, both with other people and with God. In her talk, she spoke about how important it is to find the right fit for volunteers to help them succeed. In her way of thinking there are four levels for people to volunteer at, and she also highlighted the importance of each one.

Serving = this is an entry level volunteer position; easy, not long term, low investment. Examples: greeters, supply room coordinator, room coordinators, service project supply person, anything that can be done on own time.

Shepherding = a position that involves giving care to others, more involvement than serving level, the next step in investing in community. Examples: nursery caregivers, large group hosts (think bereavement representatives at a funeral), technology helpers.

Teaching = higher level of commitment, more preparation ahead of time, direct engagement with groups of people. Examples: small group leaders, Sunday School/Oasis teachers, leading a women’s or men’s group.

Leading = those who advocate for programs, chair events, high capacity volunteers. Examples: congregational council, chair of commission, transition team, all members of commissions.

As the speaker finished up I began to realize just how important it is to help everyone find the right level for investment in our community. In 1 Corinthians 12:4 Paul reminds us that there are different kinds of gifts, but one Spirit who distributes them. We all have different gifts that can be used to the glory of God. I have been working on changing my thinking so that I notice in a different way. Where do you notice gifts that you could use? Or maybe gifts in another? How can we help each other grow those gifts? How can we empower, equip, and encourage one another? Rather than trying to fill the voids that we have in programming, what if instead we worked from a place of abundance? What are you abundant in? How might you share that gift to the glory of God? God has given us all amazing, but different gifts! Let’s figure out how to use them together!

Women of St. John’s share the warmth of God’s love

The following message was written by Pastor Corrine Haulotte from the Lutheran Campus Center in Winona. The ladies of our congregation have shared God’s love in our community and throughout the world in a number of powerful ways. One of those is creating and sharing prayer shawls and quilts. Read about how powerful those gifts can be:

In the bleak midwinter of 2010, I received a colorful prayer shawl.

The shawl was sent to Wartburg Theological Seminary following a press conference held on campus regarding the death of [my friend] Ben in the Haiti Earthquake. A woman I have never met (even to this day) sent the shawl with a prayer square and a note to our Academic Dean, asking him to pass the items onto me. Craig explained that she heard me speak about Ben on the news and was moved to send the items.

I don’t remember what I said to Craig, but I remember the feeling that washed over me as I held the soft shawl and square in my hands. It was the same feeling I have each time I pull the shawl around my shoulders, cloaking myself in tangible prayer and colorful love.

Yesterday I held the shawl open for four women at the LCC. Kay, Marlene, another Marlene, and Charlotte from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kasson met Kelly and me at the LCC with quilts and shawls they had gathered for our students. I shared my story with them, and we all nodded, knowing deeply the simple and profound gift of such prayerful creations.

I also shared a long-held dream of mine: to have quilts and prayer shawls on hand to give to students. Of course, they already knew this. But Kay didn’t know about such a vision when she emailed us in June, inquiring whether or not we could use some quilts at the LCC. (Well, hello there, Holy Spirit.)

There’s more to the story…

The same day I met with these four angels from Kasson, a colleague and friend told me about a prayer shawl and square he had from a woman he had never met. Hmm, I thought, that sounds familiar. “Do you know if she sent a shawl to Wartburg Seminary in 2010?” Later that night, he called: “I received a message today you might find interesting… ‘Yes, I did send two shawls to Wartburg after the earthquake in 2010.’” My jaw dropped. What are the chances that on the same day I told this story and received beautiful quilts and shawls for our students, I would also receive a connection with this other woman?

Dear LCC friends, we just never know, do we? We never know what an impact we might have on one another. I want to invite you into this impact at the LCC. Please pray for our ministry together; consider offering a financial gift to further our ministry; perhaps offer a quilt or shawl to campus ministry, or a friend (or stranger!) in need. If you’d like to be part of this dream unfolding, please let me know!

Imagine the students who will wrap prayer about their shoulders and receive healing balm for their hearts through these quilts and shawls. Just imagine…

With gratitude,
Pastor Corrine Haulotte