I had started my first church while in college. It was in a very poor area and most of our effective ministry happened on Saturday more than Sundays.
Saturday was visitation day and we always spent time in the community. Some Saturdays we would have lunch together, play games, do some repairs to some of our constituents’ homes. Saturdays were really special times.
On Saturdays, the people from our community would be waiting for us. Some folks would leave their kids with us, knowing they were safe and would have a good time. On Saturdays we were welcomed by everybody.
One Saturday, we had two volunteer nurses come in and attend to some special needs of adults and kids. From time to time we would shave the kids’ heads because of lice.
So many Saturdays… so much success.
But then came Sunday. Sunday School, church, singing and preaching. Where did they all go?
We would arrive on Sundays early enough to get the kids out of bed and dressed for church and still very few would come. Some Saturdays we would have upwards of sixty people. Sundays – sixteen was a good turnout.
I found myself enjoying Saturdays more than Sundays. Shaving heads, getting medical help to those who needed it, was working, but not preaching and teaching on Sundays.
I worked full-time, carried a full load of classes. I was the lead pastor and always had another pastor helping out. Any money we had came from our tithe and whoever was helping. Not a lot of money, but always enough.
As the ministry became more established, we began to shift some teaching into our Saturday projects. It wasn’t much, but at least we tried.
We established some tutors to help the kids with their school work. That turned out to be appreciated in the local school district. From time to time, I would need more volunteers from college to help. I always had plenty of helpers who would give up a Saturday to help in his or her specialty.
The area was called West Grand. To identify with the area of our ministry, we just called our church “West Grand Church”.
It seemed the more we offered, the more need would come forward. We began to be noticed. The local newspaper wrote up a nice piece with pictures and all.
But still, on Sundays sixteen to twenty-five was about all that would show up. I was so convicted in my heart. I thought the results of the good works would be seen in hungry hearts coming to an altar on Sundays. Because I didn’t see those results, I didn’t believe much spiritual progress was being made.
The Local Radio Station even came one Saturday and broadcast on the edge of the church grounds to help us with food and clothing drive.
But inside, I was not sure if we were fulfilling the Great Commission. We know a lot of the time that crowds followed Jesus because of His healings and miracles. Then many would walk away.
Then there is this well-known verse:
We did our very best to serve in the love of Jesus. We helped at least 100 families, with health issues, school issues, food and clothing. All in the name of Jesus. My prayer is that somehow that helped someone find the Lord as Savior. I think about those early days a lot lately.
I was looking for results. I thought our efforts would produce. I was wrong. God knew who He was ministering to and through us. I would learn over the years not to define the outcome of the task God has given us to do.