Sermons: Sabbatical Sermons

Listen and be encouraged by our guest speaker, Scott Strickman.

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Ministry Leader Spotlight: Godfrey Chan (Welcome Ministry)

chansEver noticed those people who never seem to stop hanging out around the front desks on Sunday? These friendly faces are more than loiters; they are part of Redeemer’s Welcome Ministry, whose head is Godfrey Chan. We interviewed him to get to know more behind the ministry.

Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Emerson NJ – a suburban town 24 miles north of here. You know Paramus? Where all the malls are? It’s a 15 minute backroad drive away.

How did you get connected with Redeemer and the welcome ministry? And how have you benefited from it?
I started coming here in 2002 while going to Redeemer in the city as well. It became more practical to stick around town, so I kept coming here – plus it was smaller and cozier, so it was easier to get to know people. Sonny Gupta asked me to help out with the greeting ministry when the morning service started in 2007. Since I’m somewhat of a people-person, I happily obliged. When Sonny stepped down (about a year later), I decided to take over. The great thing is I know at least the faces of pretty much the whole congregation. I’m as bad as anyone else with names, but I tend to just ask people if I forget.

Why is the welcome ministry important? How does it embody Christ?
We’re the first people someone sees, and you know what they say about first impressions. Tony always tries to challenge us to really “shepherd” people – especially ones in need. That’s easier said than done, but I think it is important to make it clear that Redeemer is welcoming to everyone, no matter who you. I always like that saying that church is like a hospital – for the sick, not the healthy.

What are the ins and outs of volunteering with the welcome ministry; what should people expect?
The key is focusing on making new people feel welcome. Aside from the set-up and the break-down, the new people are key. If I see an unfamiliar face, I’ll ask if they’re new here, and if they say “yes,” I tell them where the coffee and bagels are, the location of the bathrooms, and when the service starts if they’re there early. If I get a chance to talk to them a bit more, I ask where they’re from; and if I find they have a common hometown of someone in the congregation, I’ll try to introduce them to that person–although that doesn’t happen too often. I also point out the new person to other members–just so that the greeter isn’t the only person they talk to.

Are you needing any volunteers these days?
Yes. We’re still a bit short-handed, so if you’re interested in becoming a greeter, let me know!

 

Last Week of Sabbatical

Pastor Tony returns for Easter this Sunday.  Sabbatical has been a wonderful season of seeking and renewal.  Let’s spend this last week in prayer and anticipation.  To get a good start, here is last Sunday’s prayer for renewal by Lori Lawrence.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the Earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak
(Isaiah 40).

Let’s pray:

Father, I pray this morning for your people assembled here and for our pastor, Tony.
We ask that you hold before us a vision of your kingdom on earth.

A kingdom where
the weak are protected and none go hungry,
the earth’s abundance is shared so that all can enjoy it,
different people and cultures enjoy the dignity and respect that you show them as bearers of your image.

A kingdom where peace is built on justice,
And, especially, a kingdom where your name is exalted and your mercy extends to all.

Father, if we are to walk in this kingdom, to be a part of its advance, we need you to teach us to wait on you each day so that when quick decisions and actions are needed we mount up with wings as eagles.

When we have to persevere under pressure, we are able to run and not grow weary.

When the days seem dull, dry, routine and unrewarding, we can walk and not faint.

We call on you, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who never grows tired or weary, whose understanding no one can fathom.

Now we pray as your son Jesus taught us

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever amen.