It was the year of 2016 and it had been a little over a year since Gwinnett Church was planted in Sugar Hill. That was also the same length of time that I had been attending this church. It so happened that I lived in Sugar Hill and literally this church was 2-3 minutes away from me. So when there was a sign that mentioned the date of the first church service (January 25), I told myself I was going to try this whole church thing out. I hadn’t been to church in years, but this was a time in my life that I was leaning closer to Christ. Soon I would find myself having a church home for the very first time.
Early that year, Gwinnett Church mentioned that they needed volunteers for their youth ministry. I pondered about it. I wasn’t sure, but I felt like Jesus was pushing me to just go on to their website and fill out an application for Waumba Land. He didn’t want me questioning why. So I was like,
“Alright, I’ll do it Lord. I’ll listen and trust in You.”
The thing is, I’m a broken person. This is why I pondered in the very beginning whether or not I should even be considering serving the church, let alone with preschool-aged children. “How could someone like me, who struggles with depression be any good with kids? Why would God be using me in such a way? Could I possibly be a light in their lives?” These questions would be answered later as I got the opportunity to be a small group leader with 3 year olds.
So there I was. Day one, going into the room in which I’d be serving in for the year. It’s official. I was a volunteer. I was now a small group leader to 3 year olds and I had no idea what their names were. Soon into it, there were doubts that crept in. I had never been around kids this age. “How do I speak to them? How do I love on them? Am I emotionally ready for this, because God knows how hard it is for me to communicate and love on others when I’m a wreck.”
The first day of being a volunteer was over. Soon after, the second day passed as well, and I find myself a few weeks in feeling different about myself. Feeling changed. These 3 year olds were changing my life and I had no idea. All I had really wanted to do was to change theirs. If I’m being honest, being a volunteer gave and still gives me purpose in my life.
I’ve grown to know what love is. See, love is seeing my kids sing and dance in large group. Love is one girl drawing a cross on a sheet of paper and telling me Jesus died for us.
And it is amazing seeing God working through their lives.
All of sudden I found myself looking forward to Sundays. Sundays are now my favorite day of the week. I get to be around some of the most important human beings in my life. I get to be a part of the beginning of their story.
They get to be a part of mine, and together it is a part of a bigger story–God’s story.
If you’re thinking about volunteering, that is a sign. One where God has planted a seed in your heart and placed a thought in your head, because this is what God wants for you. God isn’t looking at the mess you’re in or the mess you’ve gotten through. He’s looking at the mark you’ll leave in these children’s lives if you trust in Him.
Pray about it. Don’t doubt God. See more in yourself because God sees more in “you”. And take a leap into faith.
Click HERE if you’re ready to say,
“Alright, I’ll do it Lord.”
If I can – I want to thank the staff in Waumba Land and Gwinnett Church as a whole for always being so generous and loving towards me. My relationship with God wouldn’t be where it is now without you guys.
When you see these two words “For Gwinnett”, this church means them.
They are “for you”. A “you” that God has big plans for.
–Tony Cox Jr.