Steve is a Sunday School Teacher, Financial Peace University Small Group Leader, Outreach Committee Chair and Deacon at South Main Baptist Church.
I have to say, living in Houston, one of the things I enjoy most in the hot summer is going to the pool with my girls. There is just something refreshing and relaxing about floating in the cool water amidst the splashing and giggling of kids having fun that is such a contrast to the oppressive hot and busy lives we lead. While I have a lot or respect for those that can arrive at the pool and immediately cannonball into the deep end, I have to admit that I tend to be more of the “ease in over a 5 minute period” type. Sure, later in the summer, when the water is lukewarm, I can wade on in… but the water is not quite as refreshing. No, for the ultimate in cool water enjoyment, I have to take my time. Occasionally, I’ll dive right in… only to have all of my nerve endings revolt for that split second… I think they remember… thus the 5 minute entry most of the time.
I was thinking about how I’ve engaged South Main over the years and I remember first coming here as a young, newlywed couple. I enjoyed the service. Eventually, we started coming to Sunday School… at first just listening… then getting to where I’d enter into discussion. I remember being very tentative about getting involved. I was raised an MK/PK (Missionary Kid/Preacher’s Kid)… I knew that church had the potential to take lots of my time (While I rationalized that “church” would take my time, I knew in the back of my mind that God was the one that would use me if I let Him.) I remember resisting… I barely had time for my new job, my new wife, my existing friends… I just didn’t have time. But still, at least I dipped my toe in.
Over time, I got more engaged in my Sunday School class, started volunteering with the kids as a VIP, went to Missions Day and helped build a Habitat for Humanity house, … Each time, someone at South Main would invite me to this or ask me if I wanted to help with that… The deeper I got, the more I enjoyed it, the more I reconnected with God… One day, I was asked to substitute teach our Sunday School class. I remember distinctly my “Jonah” moment, where I admitted that I’d been trying to sidestep God’s nudge to teach. I had some great excuses too. But when I finally said yes, I discovered that teaching was something I really enjoyed. In fact, it is now one of the things I enjoy most in my life (and, surprise, during Discovery Weekend, I found out that it is in fact one of my spiritual gifts).
I have so many South Mainers to thank for their invitations, nudging, encouragement, and support… I’m not sure I would have come this far without them. Needless to say, God has continued to work in my life and the life of my family, and every time I wade in one more step deeper into the life of South Main, I find a deeper, fuller understanding of God and the richness of the family of God.
Looking back, I wonder what it would have been like if I had just “jumped in”… and I see people who do that and thrive. For me it was a longer journey. Either way, I’m all in now and the water is cool and refreshing and I feel replenished. If you are not all in yet, come on in… the water is great.
We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…