My Summer at WordServe

 

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WordServe is truly wonderful. I have spent my summer exploring my call to ministry as an intern here, and I can’t say enough good about it. I could not have asked to be placed at a better church for this process. The people here are incredibly welcoming to newcomers, authentic, and committed to ministry in a way I have seen in few other congregations.

Starting even before I arrived the people of WordServe were letting me know how excited they were to have me. I received countless emails from members of the staff and congregation welcoming me into their family and even inviting me to their homes for dinner. When I arrived at the church, I quickly discovered that they really wanted to make me feel as welcome as they could. After the services on the first Sunday I attended, many members of the congregation made it clear they wanted to get to know me and that they were there to help me however they could. I can honestly say I have never felt so immediately at home in a new church, and I can’t thank everyone at WordServe enough for putting a very nervous young intern at ease.

The people here are incredibly authentic. They are the kinds of people who want to know what is going on in your life. Watching them after services has made it clear they really do care about each other. Most of the congregation will stay at the church and just talk with each other after services instead of immediately disbanding. Many are more than willing to help each other when they are called upon, and they strive to build relationships with each other outside of church. Coming from a relatively large church where that doesn’t happen much, it is extremely refreshing to see and experience.

One of the main goals of any church is to equip the congregation to do ministry. WordServe has been one of the few churches I have seen have overwhelming success in this. People of WordServe take any and every opportunity to serve the community. One of the coolest things here is it isn’t just the pastor giving the message. Since I’ve been here I’ve already seen two of the members of the congregation give amazing messages. Such a willingness from the congregation to share God’s word with others is something I have never seen and something I very much admire about the culture being cultivated at WordServe. I can only hope when I am serving as a pastor I can cultivate this kind of culture.

All in all the people at this church have taught me much. This has been one of my best summers, and I’m so glad to have had this chance to grow in Christ with these people. They have welcomed me as one of their own, and this church will always hold a very dear place in my heart. So, to the WordServe family a very heartfelt thank you from a young man just trying to find his role in God’s Kingdom. I’ve had an incredible time getting to know you all, and I’m not looking forward to the end of my time here. Keep up the great work!

-Trevor Guidry, Summer Pastoral Intern

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Authentic Relationships

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WordServe is amazing. It’s a small church with a family feel, and a big reason for that is community groups. Community group is where we have experienced the most depth, challenge, and growth in our faith. We have learned two big lessons in our five years at WordServe for thriving in community.

First, we had to have realistic expectations for authentic relationships. Sometimes the impression can be that as soon as you enter a community group, you will have an instant, fully-invested community. To be honest, we were not always perfectly thriving in our groups. Groups, like friendships, can be tough and take time to grow. Brand new groups, especially, struggle at first to find their groove. We were in a few different community groups, and while they were each wonderful, they were not yet home.

During this time, God worked on our hearts and developed us in exciting and unexpected ways. Meg, for example, works in a male-dominated field and was more comfortable talking to men than women for years! Through community group she formed strong bonds with the women she met and learned that her true home was with these wildly wonderful, faith-filled ladies. Through their support, she gained the courage and vision to begin attending seminary at Houston Baptist University. Matt entered community group young in his faith walk. When he started engaging with other men, especially in men’s group, and receiving the loving accountability, support, and encouragement that comes from their camaraderie, he made great strides in his maturity and his faith. Through their wisdom and support, he gained a stronger faith foundation and greater courage that ultimately led to him stepping into his role at WordServe as youth leader.

Our second big lesson… we realized we have to be courageous enough to ask for help when we need it. A dangerous, unwritten expectation can be that if we have a prayer request or discuss a need, people will automatically assume we need help and offer it. When we needed help the most, we were so busy trying to survive that we failed to ask for help from those who would’ve been most willing to give it. Outside looking in, we had it all together! This left us floundering instead of diving deeper into what community means – asking for help and being there for one anther in all of life’s circumstances in both struggles and celebrations.

God finally led us to our homes in the men’s and women’s groups. While these groups have grown and changed, their hearts for God and for each other have stayed the same. Even when we have had to step back from attending the group, we have kept our relationships with members and continued to engage them in our faith and personal lives. These men and women are people we feel we could reach out to with any need and receive support.  They are the body of Christ to us.

-Matt & Meg Lewis

 

Refreshed, Revived, Repurposed, Renewed

 

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I am journeying through a life transition.  It was knocking my socks off, and I needed a church home to be refreshed, revived, repurposed, renewed.  WordServe centers their mission around celebrate, compassion, community and connect.  These seemed juxtaposed to what I was seeking and where God was leading me.

I have never attended a church service where the compassion of the Lord has been so alive!  I feel revived every single time I am around the members of WordServe.  Whether I am sitting next to them in service or Bible study, running into them at the grocery store, having lunch with them, or in the parking lot of PetSmart, the people who go to WordServe are genuine.  When the pastors ask how I am, they really mean it.  I am revived in this setting.  It stirs my soul to go back to be the genuine me that God created to serve him!  The hugs when I am tearing up, the laughter with others who have experienced my journey, the delight in the faces when I am greeted, have all revived my soul!  These people are Jesus with skin on.  They are real, honest, vulnerable, sinners who seek God.

The compassion of this church body is awesome.  They are involved in helping the community in the house they are building, in ministering to the children of a local school, in making meals for those who were displaced during and after the floods of Hurricane Harvey, in the washing of clothes, helping the flood victims, and joining local churches in the same area.  They know the heartbeat of this community and take care of it!  I have hungered for helping those around me, and this is where God led me.  I can make meals, wash clothes, make homey things for our Huggins’ families, visit children at school, as well as pray for them, because I can see their faces, feel their hearts and know their needs.

This church body has reached out to me and renewed my faith that God is everywhere.  They welcomed me with open arms.  They have gone out of their way to include me and let me know my skills, talents, and heart have a place here.  The Women’s Community Group on Tuesday nights have welcomed me, and I have never felt like a stranger.  Though I am unable to attend regularly, these ladies have contacted me by phone, text, lunches, asking how they can pray.  They have opened up to me on how I can pray for them as well.  They have been vulnerable with me and allowed friendships to grow.  They made the first and ongoing steps that renewed my starving soul.  I do still have a purpose, place, and peace.  I fit in!

This is the first church body I have been a part of that truly lives the church in Acts.  They get it!  They are real!  They celebrate!  They show compassion!  They know and serve the community!  They connect with those within the church body!  I thank the Lord for leading me to WordServe.  As 2018 begins, so does my furthering journey.  This will include these loving people at WordServe whom I am proud to say I am one of them.

-Robin Ferguson

 

Living Water International Trip to Honduras

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Over the summer, WordServe participated in several activities and projects that built relationships with members of the community and met needs, like FaithFULL Kids and Habitat for Huggins.   Though our mission focuses on reaching our own communities for Christ, we believe in the calling we have as Christians to reach the nations for Jesus.  From July 26-August 2, a team of servants from WordServe traveled to Honduras with Living Water International to help drill a water well for a community that lacked a source of fresh, clean water.  Through meeting a physical need for clean water, the team was able to introduce the community to the source of living water that will never run dry–Jesus Christ.  When the team returned, each member shared testimony of how they saw Christ at work during the time in Honduras.  In case you missed the Celebration Service, you can check out the videos below:

Chad Yelverton’s Christ Cam

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Bill Hogan’s Christ Cam

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Jason Zimmerman’s Christ Cam

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Kasey Hogan’s Christ Cam

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Leslie Wakefield’s Christ Cam

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Lisa Harp’s Christ Cam

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Marcus Dillon’s Christ Cam

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Matt Lewis’ Christ Cam

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 As you can see, this trip was truly life-changing for all who were involved.  If you have questions about the trip, please ask one of team members.  If you are interested in going on a short-term mission trip of your own, contact Nolan Donald or Bill Hogan for information about future trips.

Joint Celebration Service with Greater Zachery Baptist Church

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A couple of years ago, WordServe Church had the vision that the best way to begin the new year would be to join forces with another local church to celebrate the work God was doing in the community, to encourage one another, and to establish unity as bodies of believers.  So, on the first Sunday of 2013, we began what we hoped would be a tradition of worshiping with the Greater Zachery Baptist Church from Fulshear, TX.  The service was a beautiful time of fellowship and worship–the music was so rocking that we even blew a breaker and momentarily lost power!

Due to scheduling issues, we were unable to celebrate together on the first Sunday of 2014, but we again joined services on Sunday, July 6 at Shafer Elementary.

Reverend Jackie Gilmore, pastor of Greater Zachery Baptist Church, shared a message from Philippians about joy that was powerfully uplifting.  His son and worship leader at Greater Zachery, Torrey Gilmore, joined the WordServe Praise Team by playing keyboard and adding his beautiful voice to the mix.  The Greater Zachery choir even made an appearance and blessed us all through song.  The service was such a success that WordServe and Greater Zachery are exploring options for coming together again soon.  Our time together was also a powerful reminder that while we all have different backgrounds, different traditions, and different styles of worship, we are all children of God and that He is so pleased when his children worship together in unity.

FaithFULL Kids Celebration

On Sunday June 8, 2014, WordServe celebrated the first anniversary of the FaithFULL Kids program.  God has blessed us and provided not only what we have needed–a meeting and storage location, food and monetary donations, and an abundant harvest of workers to serve–but He has also provided physical and spiritual nourishment for kids in our community.  Because of God’s goodness, we were able to meet (and exceed) our goals laid out for the first year of FaithFULL Kids.

Here are a few ways we have seen God at work this year:

–96 kids have received meals each week.

–In the 37 weeks of this past school year, 3,552 backpacks have been filled.

–This adds up to over $8,500 worth of food.

–There have been over 518 volunteer hours this year alone with an average of 14 volunteers each week.

–More than 220 people have been involved with an average of 6 new volunteers per week.

–Approximately 40 boxes of food were distributed during Spring Break.

–Over $23,000 has been raised to fund the program.

Our vision for FaithFULL Kids isn’t stopping with just these statistics–we have a dream to expand this program and impact even more children and families in the coming year.  This Summer, join WordServe Kids each Wednesday from 10:30-11:30 AM, as we pack meals for FaithFULL Kids at Guardian Taekwon-Do and deliver to Huggins Elementary for pick-up by our FaithFULL Kids families.  During pick-up, we have fun and faith-filled activities planned to help deepen our relationships with these children.  This is a great way for your kids to share their faith and serve the community during the summer months!  To sign up to serve or for more information, click HERE.

 

Connecting with FaithFULL Kids

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Recently, WordServe hosted a Compassion event after Sunday morning worship for families to pack boxes of food for children participating in FaithFULL Kids, a program that provides non-perishable foods to kids on free/reduced lunch at Huggins Elementary.  Through this opportunity, families worked side-by-side to elevate others as God’s masterpieces, joyfully serving children who might not have otherwise had food over the Spring Break holiday.

One of WordServe’s community groups committed to greet and encourage families that came to pick up their food boxes before Spring Break began.

Cheryl Dent, Director of WordServe Kids shared, “We were giving the drop off locations a try with the hope that we could begin to build relationships with the families. It was wonderful to watch the kids that came to serve and the ones that came to pick up the food immediately connect and begin to play tag and hide and seek with each other.”

However, the children were not the only ones who connected on a deeper level.

Cheryl continued, “One of my favorite memories of that afternoon was watching the interaction of one of the kids there who came up to one of the adults. She showed her a hollow stick and the adult asked her if she would like her to make a bracelet out of it. It was special to watch the two of them interact as they found pine needles and tied them together and then looped the pieces of the hollow stick on it. The little girl’s smile and the lady’s smile as they worked together made this God moment a special memory for me. The next time our community group met, another adult there said she saw that little girl at her child’s school at lunch time. The adult was able to greet that child by name and hug her! It will be great to see how God will use just a small interaction to build relationships! God is at work as we transform our community one relationship at a time!”

If you are interested in participating in FaithFULL Kids, or have questions about this ministry, check out http://www.wordserve.org/faithfullkids for more information!

Here are a few pictures of WordServe Kids helping to make life different!

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WordServe Youth enjoy “Life is Different” weekend

In January, WordServe Youth took to Lutherhill Camp for three jam-packed days of fun, laughter, games, spiritual challenge, worship, and growth! It was an awesome chance for students and adults to get away and build great relationships with each other and with God.

Check out the video from the weekend:

How Long, Lord?

“O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?” (Psa 13:1–2 NLT)

The injustices in this world are maddening, aren’t they?  Why should some have so much, and others so little? And why doesn’t God do something about it?

Do you know what I think?  I think God IS doing something about injustice and hardship… he’s inviting us to partner with him to bring restoration and peace.

A young mother who is now doing her best to take care of her young children plus some extended family might have been thinking, “How long, Lord?”  With 8 children to care for and a house that needs some help, she approached WordServe to see if we could help.  After planning, consideration, and on-site evaluation, WordServe’s Compassion team decided they could take on her house repairs.

Mind you, this won’t be a weekend project.  This will be many weekends, all done by volunteers on their time off.  As I thought about the scope of work, the enemy’s voice started up:

  • WordServe can’t do this… it’s too big
  • The Church will promise and get hopes up, but you won’t be able to deliver
  • You’ll do more harm than good

Indeed, as I rode out to meet the family with our Director of Compassion and our project manager, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How can WordServe possibly pull this off?”

big prayer road signAs this thought crossed my mind, we rounded the next turn. I couldn’t help but notice the street sign:

Big Prayer Road

No… I’m not making that up.  That’s the road name!  And that’s the answer.

God knew long before my doubts that there was a need.  God has been preparing the work site and the workers.  And God is inviting us to join in what God will pull off… not WordServe.

The Psalm above started with a cry for help, but don’t stop reading there.  And more importantly, don’t live there!  Have the faith to see the end of the story, even before the end is clear:

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.” (Psa 13:5–6 NLT)

Want to help?  How about starting with some “Big Prayer?”

Serving joyfully,
Bill

Visit http://www.wordserve.org/habitatforhuggins for regular updates.  Volunteers welcome!

 

“Thank You, WordServe!”

We got a text on the first day of school from a WordServe mom whose sons go to Huggins:

New backpack hooks at Huggins Elementary make a huge difference!

New backpack hooks at Huggins Elementary make a huge difference!

Lots of “thank you’s” from the teachers this morning! The backpack racks look great! Imagine 562 backpacks on the floor! This project really made a difference here. It warms my heart to think about the scripture written on the back of the racks and the prayers prayed for the children and teachers. Life really is different! Great way to start the year! Continue reading