Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
As I am writing this I am thinking of a “Newcomer’s Dinner” this Saturday (Feb. 29). For those of you reading this the dinner is a past event. But the relevance of what the dinner involved is not. It was for the purpose of introducing those who are not familiar with VP to its management of ministries structure so that they will know how VP functions.
We invite and welcome those who are willing to help us serve and build a healthy church. Besides presenting our ministry management structure, our goal is to build relationships and to encourage participating in the life of VP through involvement in some of the things we are doing. We believe serving the church is one of the primary ways we show our love of Jesus and build the family of God.
I think most of us understand the value of giving and serving others in this life. But understanding how important it is to Jesus in the context of a church family informs a higher value of and commitment to serving than is often true based upon our own perceptions. A healthy understanding of the heart of Jesus motivates us to be more passionately committed to using our gifts and abilities sacrificially for what Jesus most values for us in this life. Thoughts on its value to Jesus involves the following:
- Jesus lived to love and serve those who followed Him. He came into the world to serve us by dying for our sins so that we might be reconciled to God through Him. Jesus clearly taught that His purpose in life was to serve the best interests of others. (Mat. 20:28; Mark 10:45)
- Jesus modeled a “Servant’s heart” on the night before He died by washing His disciples’ feet. He taught in the process that if He, as our Lord, would humble Himself in order to do menial work for His disciples, we would exemplify commitment to Him by serving in like manner. (John 13:12-17)
- Jesus gave one “New Commandment” to obey if we are His followers. That is, that we would love one another as much as He loves us. He loves us sacrificially, which was a depth of love He exemplified that was unlike worldly love. Our loving the brethren as He loved the brethren is clear evidence of our commitment to being a disciple of Jesus. (John 13:34-35; 15:9-17)
- Jesus taught that following Him required self-denial. In other words, he taught that truly following Him meant first setting aside our priorities in self-service. Serving others, no matter the context, requires giving up time we could otherwise be investing in ourselves. (Mat. 16:24-27; Mark 8:34-37; Luke 9:23-25)
- Jesus taught that our rebirth as children of God and receptivity to His influence in our lives would result in bearing fruit in this life. Fruitfulness is always related to the impact we make on the lives of others and our impact is most often greatest when we serve. (Mat. 3:10, 18-23; 7:17-19; Luke 8:4-15; John 15:1-5)
- Finally, Jesus taught that on the day of judgment we will be examined based upon the degree to which we have loved and served others and touched their lives. Becoming children of God, “these brothers of mine, is the most important place to start. (Mat. 25:31-46)
These reflections of the heart and will of Jesus offer healthy reasons for investing our lives in the church. It is my strong conviction that using all that God has entrusted to me for the sake of building the family of God in the context of a church family is among the most important things I can do in this life. The multiple teachings of Jesus undergird this conviction and my confidence that “servanthood” is the purpose of a Christian in life.
Valley Park (VP) has a leadership TEAM (Together Embracing A Mission) called the Board of Deacons. Each deacon (a word meaning “servant”) on the Board works with a TEAM of people who work together in serving the church with a ministry focus. The many things that can be done to serve the best interests of the church are therefore allocated to ministry TEAMs we call committees. Thus, committees are the backbone of Valley Park and the primary way we work together as TEAMs of people doing works of service.
We are always inviting the members and friends of VP to work with one or more of our TEAMs. The deacons in charge of these TEAMs are the people to talk to in order to make a decision about where you might get involved. In addition, you are welcome to come alongside of those doing ministry to see what we are doing and how you might undergird what we are doing. VP has over 60% of our members and friends serving in some capacity. We are proud of what we are doing as a church. Let’s grow the TEAM together.
To God be the glory!