Friday, August 18, 2017

Amazing Bethany IV

I have written quite extensively about my home church and I suppose that you would just have to be there sometime to really understand why.  In writing about Bethany Holiness Church in Sand Springs, OK, my intentions are not just to brag on and show my thankfulness and admiration for these people, but also to hopefully inspire others to strive to be ever more like them.

The amount of ministry that is done on and from this place is exhaustive...and exhausting.  HaHa!  But it is not just the activity and action in and of itself that is so impressive.  It is often the hidden talents of so many people that only a true need will sometimes bring out.

Many places that I go, and they are many, have the talents of all of their people on full display at each event, happening or occurrence.  The best singers will be singing, the best preachers will be preaching, the best leaders will be leading, etc.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  But amazingly enough, I see more and more incredible strengths and talents in our people just by accident.  Or I at least seem to find out about them by happening upon them, because they are not on display.

Incredible cleaners, amazing organizers, those that are great with children and problem solvers, cooks, meal planners, handymen.  Ask any Pastor or leader and they will tell you that these are the things that they need most!  And these seem to be the types of people that we are overwhelmingly blessed with.

I thought that I realized this completely until very recently.  I am of course the President of HMA and we put on an annual Outreach Conference.  This year, for the first time, we held the conference at Bethany.  The 4 previous years we had it at Revival Tabernacle in Richmond, KY and Pastor David Lamb's staff did outstanding.  I always made my phone calls, sent my money and showed up for the conference like everyone else.  It was so incredibly easy for me because Revival Tabernacle did almost all of the heavy lifting.

This year I prepared for a much different experience.  My local Oklahoma staff and I (many of which already attend Bethany) were geared up for putting on this conference without the hands on help of many of the Revival Tabernacle people that we had grown so accustomed to.  We had a meeting about a month out from conference and I asked for volunteers and took down names.....THAT WAS IT!  The next thing that I knew, it was as if the conference was putting itself on.

Our Bethany family has worked events, prepared meals for homeless people, hosted funerals, weddings and showers, put on fellowship meetings and done outreach and Vacation Bible School to the point that everyone knows who is good at what, who does what, where each other's strengths are and where the weak spots are AND.....THEY KNOW HOW TO "JUST DO IT".  They do not have to be seen, heard, told or given the credit.  It is an amazing testimony to the leadership, the leadership style and the type of people that are willing (and not willing) to attend church here.

I will give you an example:  As soon as the meeting was over and everyone had their subsequent jobs to do, a young lady approached me and said, "Pastor Todd, I am just making a suggestion, but I noticed that people will be coming form all around the country and there will be day and evening services and you do not have a specific plan for children.  Is there a need for something for the children to do while the parents are in these intense study sessions?"

I immediately realized that there could be such a need and I just didn't think about it.  I told here that something for the children to do could become an issue and I would get back to her.  THE NEXT WEEK, a couple called from Kentucky and said that they intended to come for conference but they ended up not having anything to do with their three children and were just checking for options.  I called the lady that I had spoken with and asked her if she could put something together.  She then informed me that a children's church plan had been put in place, there were activities that were built around Bible stories that had been planned and that there were young workers for each activity as well as adults to oversee the whole thing already prepared to be there.

These people are just does, that's all there is to it!  They help, they work, they plan, they are flexible and they do not have to be micro-managed.

After conference was over, the parents of the children came to me and bragged and bragged on the children's group and thanked me for it being possible. I tried to explain to them the entire situation and they just kept thanking me.  I was embarrassed for getting any kind of credit for it.  I later found out that there had been 24 to 29 children in the kid's activities almost every session.

This is just one of many examples that I could use to show how it was just GETTING DONE in the background almost literally while I slept.  All week long people were fueling vehicles, preparing food, cleaning up until 1 and 2 in the morning.  Coming in early before morning sessions and picking up after us all, praying in the sanctuary between services and on and on and on.....

Listen closely, THIS DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN!  This environment is developed...over time...on purpose...with great effort and great intent.

God has been so good to my family and our ministry and one of the best things that He ever did for us was guide to a real home church.  A church full of people that love, work, strive for unity, solutions and Godly behavior.  God bless Bethany Holiness Church!

Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett