138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
There was a time in my life when I tried to hide from God. It was a little more than 10 years ago, and I was just beginning to attend this church. My wife and I and our three kids had discovered The Bible Chapel, and it was great - my kids enjoyed the Student Ministry and my wife and I enjoyed the sermons from God's Word. I wasn't thinking too much about serving here. I was already volunteering in some other areas of my life, so between that, work, kids, and travel (which I did extensively because of work), I was busy enough. And I was very comfortable using my busyness as a reason not to serve.
Does that sound like you? Maybe it does. We're all susceptible to using the stress and chaos of daily life as an excuse not to serve. We even convince ourselves that it's a legitimate excuse. But if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, he's probably not going to let you get away with it for long.
Here's what happened with me after that: Tunch Ilkin, our Pastor of Men's Ministry, noticed me. He saw that I liked to talk to people, and that I had started to build some friendships here. And he recognized that for what it was: a gift that God had given me. So one day I got a call from Tunch, who asked if I'd volunteer on his Men's Ministry team. Well, it was Tunch. And it involved hanging out with guys. Saying yes to that was pretty easy. It certainly didn't feel sacrificial. Looking back, I guess I thought I was successfully hiding from God, but not from Tunch Ilkin. Really?
After some time as a volunteer in Men's Ministry, I got another call from Tunch. This time he said the church had a staff position he thought was perfect for me, and that he wanted me to pray about: Director of Connections. "Vinny, you'll get paid to do what you do around here every Sunday anyway - talking to people and making them feel welcome," Tunch said.
My response was pretty immediate, and vehement. "No," I said. Honestly, I practically hung up on him. I just didn't want to work at a church. I had my own, admittedly vague reasons why, but the answer was no.
I did tell my family and close friends about Tunch's call, though, and they continued to repeat what he said to me: that the job sounded perfect for me, and that I should pray about it. Of course, this was all God's doing, but at the time I was looking at it as a giant irritation. I was happy with things as they were, and all these people were bugging me to give more.
Does that sound like anything that's ever happened to you? Maybe it does. We're all susceptible to nudges from God that we try to ignore. So here's what happened with me next. I started praying about it. We're talking the kind of praying that happens in the middle of the night with your Bible in hand, asking God "Why am I getting pestered like this? I love you. I'm going to church. My family is going to church. I'm serving with Men's Ministry. Isn't that enough?"
Well, God made it abundantly clear one night that it wasn't enough. I can't say it was any particular prayer or Scripture passage that did it. I was on my knees in one of my increasingly regular middle-of-the-night prayer sessions, and I just...stopped fighting. I simply said "Okay, God, I'm yours." I felt immediately at peace, while also knowing I had to call Tunch and give him (and God) a "yes."
So for the last two and a half years, I've served as Director of Connections at The Bible Chapel. But this isn't my success story. This is a story about how God has used me well beyond what I ever imagined doing, and frankly, beyond what I ever thought I wanted to be doing. At a recent Celebration Weekend here, one of the guys who was baptized mentioned my name in his testimony. He said his life had been a mess, and then one day he found The Bible Chapel, walked into the lobby, and met Vince, which he says was the beginning of the turnaround for him. That is not a credit to me, but to God working through me, and I am thankful, humbled, and amazed.
I tell you all this not to try to get you to work at a church. But I am encouraging you to think about what God may be calling you to do right now. What is he asking that you are trying to ignore? Consider, too, that it's not just your story he's writing. Other people's stories will include you - you might be the turning point for someone out there who's hurting or lost - if you'll just stop fighting.
With all that said, please consider serving here at The Bible Chapel with the gifts and talents that God has given you - we need your help. "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms" (1 Peter 4:10).
For a little more information and some entertainment (another episode of the Vince and Kelly Show!), watch the video below. After that, check out our Serve page, where you can learn a little about each of our ministries and choose one to volunteer with. If you're not sure about your gifts, you can also take our Spiritual Gifts Assessment. We're looking forward to working with you!