His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. Matthew 25:23
Today was like any other Sunday at Villa del Parque Baptist Church...or so we thought. My wife and I along with our four children have been regular attendees at the church for over half a year now. That may not seem unusual, but when you consider that we make up more than half the congregation you now realize just how small the church is. Not because it lacks space. There is more than enough space to have at least sixty members. Nevertheless, we've been attending VDP because that's where God has put us, and we enjoy it. God has called us to serve there and encourage Pastor Roberto and his wife Ester by serving alongside them. Our son helps lead the worship by playing guitar with another member while our oldest daughter has recently accompanied them by playing the keyboard. Oh and me? I preach once a month, well actually now twice a month.
I'm responsible to preach every third Sunday of the month to help carry the load with Roberto. He's over seventy and has diabetes and it's not easy for him to stand for long periods of time. A youth pastor from another church had been helping by preaching once a month, but recently told Roberto that he wasn't going to be able to help for the next two months. That's where the "twice a month" comes in. Roberto asked me last week if I would be able to preach twice a month, and I said "yes", but I never expected what we encountered this morning...at least for a little while.
After we arrived at the church and began setting up, Ester showed up and informed us that Roberto wouldn't be able to come because of pain in his legs and so she was going to stay home and care for him. Our church attendance just shrunk by 20%. What do you do when it's only your family of six and two other people? You worship God, you pray, you preach, you take the offering, and you hang around a fellowship, so that's what we did. After singing our first song and ready to move into the second, Roberto and Ester showed up. Not in a car, because they don't have one. They walked the half block distance from their house to the church. Roberto refused to stay home and not be with us. He is an incredible man of faith.
Regardless of how your church plant may be going or how low your attendance may be, remember that we show up on Sundays to hear God speak through the preacher and we worship Him in song, and we carry one another's burdens, and we unite in fellowship and prayer, and we do it all with hearts that overflow with joy.