As the world changes, so is pastoral ministry. For a minister to succeed in this twenty first century, he or she must not only to be creative, but also go an extra mile in meeting the needs of his or her congregation. You see ministry calls one to not only move out of his or her comfort zone but also learn the art and science of sacrifice.
For the two and plus decades that I have been in the United States of America as a student and a minister, I have learned valuable and life changing lessons. It dawned on me long time ago that much as parents with little children desire to make it to Sabbath school on time, the truth of the matter is that “the spirit is willing but the fresh is weak”. Interestingly, the good news is that their children want to make it to Sabbath school on time. There have been cases where I have noticed children shedding tears because they were late to Sabbath school.
When we planted Rock of Ages in November 24th, 2012, I made a decision to work extra hard on Sabbath morning. That decision was made much easier by a prior decision when buying a car. I decided to buy a vehicle that would enable me to transport kids and church members who needed a ride. I therefore settled on a seven passenger 2010 Toyota Sienna.
Every Sabbath morning, I wake up as early as 5 AM in order to be ready for a busy day ahead in my Father’s vineyard. I usually leave my house before 8:00 AM and go to different homes scattered in the Twin Cities so as to pick my little friends and other church members who have no ride to church. When church is over, I take those who don’t have a car back to their homes.
This ministry has taught me valuable lessons, namely:
- I have learned to have the patience of the saints. Regardless of prior request for all to be ready, every morning I have to wait even when time is against me. The good news, though is that we are always at church before Sabbath school time
- The parents, children and those who don’t have a car truly appreciate this ministry. Their words of appreciation are always overwhelming
- It has been my pleasure to be of service to God’s children. I do this ministry with a passion and gladness
- The van is no longer my van but rather “our church van.” Numerous prayers have ascended to heaven on behalf of this vehicle. This is God’s vehicle. I dedicated it long time ago to do the work of God and indeed it has and continuous to do so
Every minister has a different approach to ministry. As for me, my mind is always searching for new ideas that will yield maximum fruits. So, help me dear God.
Pastor Absalom Birai, Rock of Ages SDA Church
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