by Erin Bird
If you’ve been around Riverwood for more than 2.4 nanoseconds, you have probably heard me talk about being Jesus-centered, someone who loves like Jesus loved and lives like Jesus lived. I desire this type of life for you, but I also long for Riverwood be a Jesus-centered community.
To guide us in the creation of this Jesus-centered community, we hold three values – Grace, Truth, and Trust. We’ve already talked about grace and truth, so this week we finish up our little series with “trust.”
At Riverwood, we want to see people trust Jesus. Trust Him with their lives. Trust Him with their futures. Trust Him in their difficulties. Trust Him through all things.
But being a Jesus-centered community of trust goes farther than trusting Jesus. We also want to entrust one another. Here’s what I mean:
Imagine you have an area of ministry you LOVE. It’s where you feel alive, like it’s part of who God made you to be. Maybe it’s planning events, or teaching kids about Jesus, or discipling youth, or leading a Growth Group, or even building stage designs.
Now, let’s say you not only serve in that area, but you are really good at it. So good, you become an expert. Everyone who see what you do is in awe of your work. In fact, you are so good at your area of ministry, Other churches want to learn from you and people are begging you to write a book so they can learn how to be as good as you. (Remember, we’re imagining here!)
Now, I don’t know about you, but I would be flattered by all of this. But some experts move beyond being flattered. They love being recognized as an expert so much, they hoard their knowledge so everyone else has to come to them for the answers. In other words, they hold so tightly to their area of ministry, the spotlight has to remain on them.
But that’s not how we want to operate at Riverwood.
At Riverwood, we want to be a community of trust, which means we entrust others to do the ministry. So if you become an “expert”, then we want you to pass on your wisdom to others, seeking to make them experts as well. And if you AREN’T an expert – you STILL entrust your ministry to others.
You see, to be a Jesus-centered community, we can’t keep the spotlight for ourselves. We have to put the spotlight on Jesus. And one way to do that is to trust He can use others to serve Him just as much as He can use us.
My Personal Efforts to Entrust
That’s why a couple of weeks ago I gave up my microphone to Jake, our worship leader. Normally Jake helps us connect with God through music. But I firmly believe he can also help us connect with God through teaching. If I wanted the spotlight for myself, I wouldn’t have let Jake teach. But because I want the spotlight on Jesus, I gladly gave the mic to Jake, entrusting him to serve us through teaching.
I remember in the early days of Riverwood, I didn’t really have anyone in the church family to whom I could entrust the teaching. I had to find teachers from outside the church family to help us learn from the Scriptures if I ever needed a week off or was going to be out of town. I used to pray that one day we would have people within the Riverwood family who would rise up to teach us.
And it’s happening! Not only did Luke & Ed teach us in March as elders, they will each do it again this summer (Ed in June and Luke in July). But that’s not all. Our very own Matt Townsley will also preach in July, while Jake and I are working on a date this fall when he’ll be able to teach again.
But we don’t want to just entrust ministry to others in “the pulpit”, but in every area. I long for Riverwood to have a culture of reproduction, where we each are looking to not only find areas to give our FIST (finances, influence, skills, and time), but looking for ways to help others give their FIST as well.
So jump in. Serve. Make Riverwood an amazing church family. But realize part of being a family means serving with others and even entrusting them to do what you do (and possibly even do it better). It’s always more fun to do ministry as a team, because when we do, we are redirecting the spotlight from us onto Jesus.