This weekend we had a wonderful Easter celebration at Bethel. While the focus of our celebration was Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, I found an additional source of joy: the faithfulness of our people.
This weekend would not have been possible if not for the hundreds of volunteers who served in various ministries, many coming both on Saturday and Sunday so they could worship and serve in the choir, on the hospitality team, in the children's ministry, or on our production team.
In addition, our people were on time, parked far away, sat up front (for the most part!) and most significantly, came at a service time that was perhaps not the most convenient so they could make room for visitors. In fact, one of the most encouraging moments of the weekend for me came during the early moments of the 9:30 am service when I took this picture from the north parking lot:
Now, it might be possible that this makes little sense to you. Normally empty parking spaces up close on Easter aren't good news. But let me explain. Empty parking spaces up close during the service that is normally the most attended means two things: 1) many of our people didn't come to the one service we asked them to consider not attending and 2) those that did parked far away. The point: our people did what their leaders encouraged them to do, making themselves a little uncomfortable so that guests could be comfortable. In it's own way, this is a simple picture of Gospel: the Son making himself uncomfortable so we might be comforted (see Philippians 2).
At the end of the day, this is a sign of real growth in our congregation. Would we like to have the parking lot full for every service? Of course; we want to preach the gospel to as many people as possible. But we also want to see the Lord working in the people who are already a part of the Bethel family. And thats what we have here.
So, if your are part of the Bethel family, I leave you with these words from our 1 Corinthians 15 series:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.