B1g Fridays – CCF Singles Ministry
I couldn’t recall where I first saw the church ad looking for singles’ ministry volunteers; but I do remember that the first general meeting fell on a Tuesday night. Tuesday is one of the few days of the week when I have nothing scheduled. I’ve always wanted to be involved in a church ministry, but I didn’t know where to start. So more than a month ago, I gave the singles’ ministry a try. I had no idea how much it would significantly improve my walk with the Lord.
When I arrived at the meeting, I didn’t know anyone except for one or two acquaintances who had their own cliques. Everyone else came in pairs or groups, and they all seemed at least 5 years younger than me (or so I thought. Haha). I sat quietly at the back of the room as the head of the singles ministry, Ickhoy De Leon, shared the vision with the rest of the volunteers. The plan was to hold a bible study every Friday at the CCF Center (our church) which would run for 4 weeks. The series was called “No Filter” – ‘seeing life as it is’. The message will be delivered to a large group which will be divided later on into small groups for discussion. Volunteers were needed for the series – there were committees for logistics, food, documentation and small group facilitation, among others. I immediately volunteered as photographer since it would require the least effort from me. I later on realized God had bigger plans.
After several meetings, the organizers expressed that there was a shortage of facilitators to lead the small groups. I already volunteered to become a photographer, so I wasn’t sure if I could still handle a small group. Besides, I hate speaking in front of people, no matter the size. Even in meetings or at the family dinner table, I’m often the least quiet (I’m so not a lawyer. Haha). I don’t like being the center of attention. I would prefer to shoot, hide behind the camera and remain unnoticed. But as the need for facilitators became more apparent, I suddenly took interest in leading a small group. I attended a facilitators’ training to help me decide. Immediately after the meeting, I committed to lead. My decision was affirmed when one of my friends from my discipleship group (who I invited to join in the ministry), without my knowledge, joined the training.
At the end of the training, the possibility of “spiritual attacks” was discussed. A spiritual attack is anything that would discourage one from keeping a faithful relationship with God and doing His work. Those who are doing work for the Lord are more vulnerable to such attacks. True enough, one to two weeks after I decided to volunteer, I had feelings of extreme self doubt, inadequacy, guilt and other unnecessary emotional distractions. This urged me to pray more for myself and the ministry.
The first B1G Friday was held in the first week of September. I was amazed at the large turnout. There were close to 500 attendees, with all the volunteers in full force. I wasn’t expecting such a big production. I didn’t think people (especially singles) would be readily available on Fridays. Most of us would prefer to go out with friends to unwind after a long week or stay at home and hit the sack early. Add to that, the bad traffic on Fridays and the erratic weather. But God brought in more people and continued to give strength to the organizers, speakers and volunteers every single week. Though each session ended late and I come home at past 12 midnight every Friday, I never felt tired and was always spiritually renewed. I felt like I had front row seats to witnessing how God’s hand worked through the ministry.
Some insights/lessons gained from volunteering the past month:
It gave me a fresh take on being single.
For most of us, being single is the best time to indulge in one’s wants. The past several years, this is exactly what I’ve been doing. With no spouse/children to commit to and save up for, I pour out most of my resources on myself – impulsively going on travels, shopping, wasting time online, and spending on food and other things to keep me entertained. During one of the meetings, Ickhoy mentioned that being single is the time when we have the most resources in terms of time and money, which we can give. I realized that God blesses us to bless others (single or not). God should always be involved whenever we use our resources as all of our blessings came from Him. We are merely His stewards.
I became more consistent with my quiet time.
Quiet time (which consists of bible reading and prayer), is essential in one’s walk with God. While it has always been emphasized in church and in our small groups, I haven’t done it consistently due to busyness. As volunteers/potential leaders, we were highly encouraged – even mandated – to pray for the ministry, for ourselves, for each other. I mentioned earlier that those who do work for the Lord are more vulnerable to spiritual attacks. This would be enough reason for me to pray more and to read His word. It was difficult at first to do quiet time every single day, but by God’s grace, I got used to waking up at 5:30 in the morning everyday to pray. I would pray not just about the ministry but about my family, my work, my personal life. Before, I would be done praying in 15 minutes, but lately it would take me at least 30 minutes (sometimes, even an entire hour) just praying. I wouldn’t even notice the time pass. During quiet time, God would impress upon me matters and people that I never thought about, but I ended up praying for. Eventually, daily quiet time became a habit and a necessity.
I was highly encouraged by the people I’ve met and the stories they’ve shared.
Through the course of the series, I heard a lot of inspiring stories from the speakers, the ministry leaders, the volunteers, and the attendees. Not a week passed by when I didn’t have a major take home lesson from the speakers. I was also inspired by stories from fellow volunteers, who I get to talk with outside the ministry or who post their insights on our FB page. I became friends with some of the volunteers and we would talk about the ministry and pray for each other’s involvement in God’s work.
I was also blessed with the attendees, especially those who joined my small group. Some of them (especially the guests) seemed apprehensive/overwhelmed with the event at first. Several even admitted that before the session started, they were thinking about leaving. But after every session, during the sharing time, they would reveal that they’re happy to have stayed and they knew that God must have placed them there for a reason. I heard stories of renewal, continued healing, and hope. It was inspiring to listen to these stories and I felt blessed as well that I was able to share a little bit about how God had been working in my life.
God has planted in my heart the desire to serve and has revealed to me opportunities to do His work.
I really hate speaking about myself (or sharing, in general. this blog post takes a lot of effort). But the past month, I’ve had this nagging desire share God’s word more to other people, even if it means speaking in public or sharing about my life with others (or dealing with people which also requires effort hehe). Also, I suddenly became interested in joining other ministries or getting involved in other opportunities to serve God. Suddenly, I was able to make time for ministries, given that I’ve been busy lately more than ever.
I realized that everything should be done intentionally and purposefully.
A few months ago, I remember telling my close friend/spiritual mentor that each day for me is becoming a routine. I just go through the motions and deal with whatever is thrown my way, trying, as much as I can, not to move out of my comfort zone. It felt like a lot of things are happening, but I’m not getting anywhere. The past month made me realize that everything should be done with purpose and intention, and with a goal in mind. When I began to intentionally seek God’s will my life, I gained understanding on circumstances. I realized that nothing happens randomly. I consulted God more in my decisions – even the neutral/seemingly insignificant ones. Following God became a daily step of obedience.
The B1G Fridays, “No Filter” series ended weeks ago, but there will be a new series every Friday starting tonight. I trust and pray that the Fridays singles ministry will continue to glorify God and bring more singles closer to Him. 🙂