At Your Service

By Heather Lear

Last week I had another all too common experience. A lay leader needed help leading her congregation’s evangelism team and reached out for some help. After getting lost in our website, she decided to take a chance and contact someone with “evangelism" in their job title. (I’ve been told that our new website will be much more user friendly.) She found my name and email, and sent off a quick request for help, unsure if her message would ever be seen, let alone receive a response. I was in the office that day, so could respond to her within the hour, and offered to connect over the phone later that day. Within minutes she accepted my invitation, and we talked for about 30 minutes that afternoon.

We began the conversation by her telling me a little about her congregation, community, and how she was volunteered to serve as the new evangelism chair. (Her words of wisdom, “Don’t miss a Lay Leadership Team meeting.”). We talked through several resources and ideas, and ended the conversation with the promise that I would send her several articles, resources, and book recommendations by the end of day. I asked her to review the material, and let me know if she had any further questions and to please contact me if I could be of further help or a sounding board down the road. She thanked me profusely, and again voiced her surprise and almost astonishment that someone at the denominational level would be so responsive and spend part of their day talking with a lay person from a local church. When I told her that resourcing and being available to folks in our local churches is my job and what I love about my position, she offered, “You guys should let people know you’re available and willing to help. We don’t know you're there.”

You guys should let people know youre available and willing to help. We dont know youre there.

Ouch. I try to reiterate that very invitation during every speaking engagement or webinar I lead. My work is funded by World Service apportionment dollars and is only possible because of the generosity of those in the local church. But as I thought further about this conversation, I realized that I would have never thought to reach out to denominational staff when I was a local church pastor. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of most of what they did, or even that they could be a resource and help to me.

I have had the privilege of serving at Discipleship Ministries for over five years now, and I am blessed to work with tremendously capable and responsive colleagues. Their callings and passion center around being resources for those on the ground, seeking to love and serve their communities, and help people to know and follow Jesus. Please know we are here to come alongside you and your ministries and help in whatever ways we can. None of us claim to have all the answers, for you are the experts when it comes to your congregations and communities. But I am confident we can help ask some of the right questions and process how and where God is leading your church. Call us, email us, contact us. You’ve already paid for our services. And if you also happen to get lost on our current web page, my direct line is (615)340-7049.