Out of the Box — Into My Faith

I have always considered myself to be a person willing to get out of the box. However, there are a few areas that feel like strange territory. One of those areas is praying.  I enjoy praying for people, but not praying out loud with people.

Our staff team attended an Ignite Leadership training in 2012. One of the seminars was about giving leadership and ministry away. The instructor asked the question, “How can people you influence feel like they are in ministry?” The focus was not on the volunteer or how many times they serve, but do they feel as if they are part of the ministry. I immediately began to think of my influence on volunteers. Do I focus on their task as ministry? Or do I simply give them something to do in order to remove an item from my list? He encouraged us to think outside the box and find ways of encouraging them to view their time as ministry.

One group in particular came to mind, the “Friday Morning Folders.”  Three ladies come every Friday to fold and stuff worship bulletins.  We have conversations about our lives. I love and care for them, and they love and care for me. How can I make an impact on their thinking of this task as ministry to the church?   It took some courage, but about a month later, I finally asked them if I could lead a time of prayer.  Every Friday we end our time together laying hands on the bulletins and praying for the people who need a touch from God. We ask God to touch people as they enter Gainesville First, from the minute they receive a bulletin to the end of worship.

It truly has made a difference. There are days when I get busy, they are finished for the morning, and I walk in to see them praying together without me.   When they have a need in their lives, they ask me to pray about it.  They trust me to pray. To be honest, our friendship and faith have grown. We have a new name: “Friday Morning Friends.”

Personally, I was taught to have courage, to once more step out of the box and into my faith.  People need to feel as though their ministry matters, and I want to do all I can to make sure that happens. I still have some fears about praying out loud, but when I do, God uses it more than I ever dreamed.

Jackie Powers has served in her position as the Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor at Gainesville First UMC for 19 years.  She serves with several community organizations and ministers to the less fortunate in many ways.  She has enjoyed several local, national, and foreign mission opportunities. Jackie is married to David, 31 years, and has three grown children. She enjoys painting, writing, and time with her family. Jackie currently serves as the President of the Georgia Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries and has led seminars for churches and the Conference on Healthy Leadership in the church office.

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