I got involved in being a Worship Assistant and the Personnel Committee when someone asked me to get involved in these areas. For Sunday School, it was a ministry I proactively wanted to be part of.
One of the ways we show our faith in God is through the work that we do for Him. These ministries have allowed me to give back to my God, who has shown me many blessings. Being part of these ministries has allowed me to get to know many new people at Immanuel and to feel much more part of our church family.
I became a Sunday School teacher about eight years ago at Immanuel, because I love working with children and I love sharing Jesus and His Word with them. Sunday School teachers were needed and I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to volunteer. I was blessed as a child to have some wonderful Sunday School teachers who helped me grow in my faith. It was my desire to help this generation of children know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. My husband and I both believe that the most important things we could teach our own children were that we love them and that Jesus loves them. We wanted to share that with the children of Immanuel as well.
Being a Sunday School teacher has helped me to grow in my faith. I have the pleasure of studying God's Word in preparation for our lesson each week and prayerfully considering how to present the accounts in the Bible to the students in a way that is exciting, interesting, fun, and relevant to their daily lives. I also enjoy teaching the kids how to pray and love seeing them get more comfortable interceding for each other, for family, and for friends. I have also learned over the past eight years of teaching that the truths about God we are sharing with these students are the heart of the Christian faith. When supporting a friend and co-teacher as she lost her husband to cancer, we came to realize that in those dark valleys of life, it is the simple but profound truths we teach in Sunday School that comfort and sustain us. The Bible has become a treasure to me and I look forward to reading and studying it daily.
I find such joy in seeing the students enjoy Sunday School, get excited about a particular story or character of the Bible, or make a personal connection to the Word. I have been amazed to see the deep, thoughtful comments and questions that these young students have shared. I love to hear them share prayer requests for their friends and family and to participate in "popcorn prayer." I have appreciated their enthusiasm in making cards of encouragement for ILC members who are ill or grieving and for the [Kairos] Torch [Prison] ministry. They love organizing and working our annual bake sale and they choose the beneficiary of the donations collected. I have definitely been blessed to spend time with these children and to grow alongside them.
Upon transferring my membership to Immauel, I knew that I wanted to volunteer in a ministry group. I have a theatre and musical background and every time I heard the Christus Choir perform at church service, I was wowed by their sound. At each passing service my heart was being tugged. If the tugging weren't sign enough, God had to spell it out for me in black and white. In the News and Notes was a notice for new members. It was easy! No audition required and I was in on my first rehearsal! Sharon Dalpini and the choir members were warm and inviting from the start. I am truly happy I have joined. I look forward to Thursday night rehearsals with my new friends and performing on Sundays sharing my talent with this sublime ministry. Being a member of the Christus Choir has helped me to be more active in my community.
Performing in a mass choir with St. Mark Lutheran Church of St. Charles at the Arcada Theatre during the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation was an amazing experience. Sharing the powerful Martin Luther hymns in that beautiful theatre was a glorious moment that I won't soon forget.
Twelve years ago my wife and I moved to Geneva and joined Immanuel in Batavia.During these years I have had the opportunity of serving our church as a Worship Assistant, School Committee member, Bible Study participant and teacher, VBS Aide, Feed My Starving Children participant, and New Orleans Katrina Mission Trip volunteer. Although these activities have often required sacrificing time, energy, and money, I truly believe I have gained much more in return.
By accepting the invitations/requests put forth by my friends and congregational members at Immanuel, I have had the opportunity to both serve the Lord and make additional connections and friendships with my fellow volunteers.Working together in ministry opportunities has taught me to be less self-centered, more sensitive to others' needs, and aware of how much God has blessed my family and me. It has also introduced me to additional ministry opportunities through which I can serve others and thank the Lord for all the blessings he has given me.
Perhaps the Immanuel volunteer activity that had the most impact on my life was the mission trip to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Twenty-six men and women from Immanuel traveled down to New Orleans, working shoulder to shoulder with other volunteers from Lutheran churches from Northern Illinois, repairing damage resulting from that horrific storm. After a week of hard physical work, sleeping in shipping containers converted into dorms, and inspirational daily devotions, our “crew” was rewarded by seeing amazing progress in restoration along with smiles and a heartfelt “thank you” from the residents and church members of the community. God certainly used our little band of Immanuel volunteers to help bring a little sunshine to a devastated but resilient neighborhood.
A church is more than brick and mortar--it is the loving caring people that join together to praise God and help their fellow man.
We became members of Immanuel about a year ago and I was convinced God was calling me to some work He wanted to do here. I thought it might have to do with prayer because He has put that focus of information and experience into my life over the last few years. He opened a door last fall to gather a few people into a prayer group. From that, Erica and Tony Ciros read a book I'd mentioned and felt God nudging this study. Erica, Tony, Christin Hager, and I watched as God opened door after door in a very short time and now 33 people are studying this workbook weekly. It is our belief that God is doing something exciting at our church--getting people to notice Him daily in their own experiences and drawing them toward Himself in a way that leads to deeper trust and confidence. From this group of people, God is probably intending to move into His next part of the plan. He hasn't revealed that yet, but I think He will!
I am more able to wait on God's timing after this experience--to trust that He does have a plan and to keep watching/praying for it to be shown to others/me. I can then anticipate He will move ahead and my work is to join Him. I have struggled with the past Christian message that believers are here to perform--to figure out what acts like evangelism or social outreach I'm supposed to do for God. I now believe that God is much more interested in my heart--in WHY I act. I have concluded that the whole point of my life is learning what it means to "abide" in Jesus. I'm trying to understand what that looks like/sounds like in my daily living. I believe that I am a conduit for the work Jesus is doing through the Holy Spirit. The people that I'm connecting with share genuinely their questions, their frustrations, their fears, their ah-ha's. That makes it safe to share mine too. This feels like "community" to me!
I don't think God is done yet. I think the people taking the Experiencing God course will look for God more than before and as a result, their hearts will change. What will God do with 33? Look what He did with 12!
I joined Christus Choir when I became a member of Immanuel in 1999. I have always been a choir member of any church I have belonged to, and although I don't have the best or strongest voice in my section, I love the music and I love to sing.
I am somewhat geographically challenged as a member of Immanuel because I live a good distance from Batavia. However, this ministry keeps me involved and engaged because I enjoy it so much and look forward to it every week. The wonderful camaraderie and fellowship is a great blessing and added bonus.
I think our service of Lessons and Carols has the most impact for me. We are so blessed to have such talented musicians and artists at Immanuel, and it is joy to be a part of these services as we prepare for the birth of our Lord.
I began working in the Sunday School program eighteen years ago when my son was four years old. I wanted to get involved at church and this seemed like the perfect opportunity, as I was bringing my kids every week anyway!
My son is now almost twenty-two and my two younger kids have come and grown through Sunday school also.
I began thinking it would be fun to teach preschoolers Bible stories on Sunday mornings. Eighteen years later, I realize how much they have taught me. We as adults often complicate the simple things. The faith of three and four year olds is magnificent. It really is as simple as Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.
Matthew 18:3 "And He said: 'Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'"
That hour every Sunday is full of stories, songs, and hugs; and maybe a little mischief now and then! They soak it all up and love Jesus with all their hearts!
The impact it has had on my life is far reaching.
First, I am amazed at how I can still learn from the kids experience and learn new things about a story I have heard fifty times in my life.
Secondly, the kids are the best outreach a church can have. They love Jesus with all their hearts, no strings attached!
Lastly, it has connected me to so many different parts of our congregation, not only the families of the kids, but the older youth helpers that assist us each week, and their families also.
A healthy church family is "connected" and this hour every Sunday morning is a true blessing.
I became active in church leadership a few years ago when the school at my previous church was failing. Before that, I always described my role at church as one to finance that which others wanted to do, but not being involved in any other way. I know my wife used to find it embarrassing that when we were ‘asked to serve’ some hours my response was always can I write a check for that.
My involvement changed when it became apparent that the school needed help, and I could lend my skills to try and save it. Through that process, I learned a whole new level of faith and built a new group of colleagues as we worked to try and keep the school. We were unsuccessful, which lead to us transferring to Immanuel. Here, I have been trying to rebuild that feeling of colleagues and friends that were lost when the school failed [at our previous church]. Luckily we are building a great group of colleagues and friends that have been open in sharing their faith and helping us to become better Christians.
My faith is growing every day that I stay involved at Immanuel. The people here have been so faithful and welcoming to my family and different ideas that are brought to the table.
[The most impactful volunteer moment] that story is still being written. I hope at the end of my term in the MMC I can say one more person was brought to Christ as a result of our actions.