I came to Lynnewood after my fiance passed away. At that time, I really needed a church and had visited a few, but none had clicked. However, the day I came to Lynnewood, I immediately met three wonderful ladies who gave me a big hug and a big smile and I knew this was the place I had been looking for.
Something I noticed very early on was that service is deeply embedded in Lynnewood’s DNA, and this provided me a great way to get involved. Serving on Outreach has fulfilled my need to help others, and it has allowed me to do that in a lot of different ways. I currently serve as the leader of the Outreach committee and we provide at least one different service opportunity every month, as well as at least one offering. Lynnewood is involved in a wide variety of projects, from providing meals to the hungry, to international mission trips, to giving low-income new moms supplies for their babies. We understand that not every project will appeal to everyone, but we hope that we are providing enough variety that everyone can find something that speaks to them.
Since the very beginning, we have done a lot of work with the Tri-Valley Haven, an organization that provides temporary housing and a domestic violence shelter, where training is provided for a new start in life. In addition to giving financial support, members of Lynnewood participate in maintenance projects on these two facilities including yard work and painting. Personally, I find these opportunities extremely fulfilling. I can see the pleasure on the faces of families that live there when they walk into a room that’s freshly painted. It also brings me closer to the people at church and helps me to get to know them better. I really thrive on fellowship because I live alone and my family is all back East. Through these many outreach opportunities, the church has become my family and gives me a true feeling of belonging.
Lynnewood has also given me a chance to serve individuals one-on-one through Stephen Ministry. I like to say that I was “drafted” into this service by a former pastor who encouraged me to go through the Steven Ministry training. As Steven Ministers, we provide caregiving to individuals who are going through a difficult time in their life. Our role is not to try to solve their problems, but to use assertive listening to help them work with through their challenge until they are healed. This is another way of nourishing my soul and strengthening my faith, because I learn so much more sitting across from someone who is going through a difficulty than I could ever have imagined. It brings God closer to me, and it is another way for me to reach out to the congregation who took me in during an extremely difficult time in my life and nurtured my faith through healing.
Sometimes you think about why you are put on this earth, and I know it’s not just to work. I know, and have known for years, that it is to make a difference. This is why I appreciate Lynnewood so much. Even though Lynnewood is a small church, it makes a huge impact. Between local and international outreach, we support at least 22 different organizations. When I compare Lynnewood to the church I attended in Atlanta (which had almost 4,000 members), I see that we are doing just as much, if not more, in terms of the number of lives we are touching. I am amazed by what we can do with our faith, our compassion, and our desire to make a change. I am truly blessed to be a member of Lynnewood.