by Tommy Hendricks, Family Pastor
My friends back home wondered how I would make ends meet and if serving like this would be worth it. I was paid $60 per week and was supposed to be provided food and lodging. I ended up living in the church. They set up a bed in one of the Sunday school rooms, brought me weekly groceries, and I had access to the baptistery as my personal bathtub. I’m happy to admit that I never bathed in the baptistery, I ended up getting a gym membership at the local YMCA and that is where I took my daily showers.
My first Sunday we only had five people and it was about 5 degrees outside. I would discover that this was the average attendance and temperature at Waterloo Baptist Church. I led the worship, the pastor preached, we had a paid pianist, and then one couple, David and Carolyn Newcomb. We sang, took an offering, and the preacher preached. It was like being in the twilight zone. During my time I would serve as the worship leader, youth and children’s pastor, and the janitor. David and Carolyn were more than a blessing to me and took me to the local buffet every Sunday to make sure I was being fed well.
After Iowa I was moved to Charleston, SC and San Diego, CA. I ended my third year serving with a traveling creative arts mission team based out of Atlanta. With Missions USA we lived on the road for one year driving from event to event and just about every day did shows at churches, colleges, schools, and anywhere that would have us. We spread the word about missions and encouraged people to sign up for mission opportunities.
I can honestly say that God more than provided for my needs during these years. I slept on couches, hotels, host homes, and even churches. There was always food to eat, a little money in my pocket, and I never really lacked for any basic needs. It was time spent trusting God for my daily provisions and meeting people that would change my life from one journey to the next.
What is holding you back from serving? How has God made it possible for you to use your gifts serving in our local church?