20 Years of Ministry
By NMC - May 4, 2017
Posted in NMC Staff, Stories from NMC
In 2017, three women celebrate twenty years of working on the NMC team. Each serves in a vastly different role, yet over the years, each one has helped to build God’s kingdom. We are grateful to work alongside these women and are so thankful for their steadfastness, faithfulness and dedication to ministry. Today we want to honor them by telling only a snippet of their stories.
Diana’s presence in the office is one of joy and kindness, of care and willingness. Over twenty years ago, she found herself at NMC, volunteering her time to serve the church in whatever way was needed. A paycheck didn’t matter to her. She just wanted to serve. After some time, though, Doris Clay offered her a job.
“I think I was just a nuisance in the office,” Diana said with a laugh.
Far from a nuisance, Diana has served faithfully in a variety of roles such as answering phones, working with the choir and assisting with our sports ministry. Often the strangest tasks seem to fall in her lap, but nothing is too big or too small for her. She is known to be one of the first to volunteer to do a project or to help with an event.
Perhaps the most personally meaningful project she has worked on is the No Green Beans initiative. NMC launched this project as a way to provide odd jobs to men and women who had been laid off during the recession. Sometimes a person would call into the church with a house that needed reroofed or a ramp that needed built. Within hours, a crew was assembled. Not only did this initiative serve the community, but it also gave dignity and hope to the hundreds of people who were without work.
For Diana, serving these men and women who wanted so desperately to provide for their families was an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience. Through this project, she got to know families, pray for them and show them the love of Jesus. When they found jobs, Diana got to celebrate with them and send them on their way with prayer and encouragement.
“Everyone who was involved in this project was thankful, and it was incredible to see how God worked,” Diana said.
Perhaps the best word to capture Diana’s twenty-year ministry at NMC is “thankful.” Not only is she thankful for the role she has played on the team, but we are incredibly thankful for the many ways she has served the Body.
It’s often said that a wedding day is the happiest day of a person’s life, but when things are poorly organized and executed, it can often be the most stressful. This is where Christy Engbrecht brings her 45 years of experience to the table. For the last twenty of these years, Christy has faithfully served as one of NMC’s wedding coordinators.
Some years, weddings at NMC are few and far between, but Christy can recount many years that held upwards of 40 weddings. Each of these weddings required her careful attention to detail and her knack for hospitality mixed with tough love.
“I’m not people’s wedding planner. I am their wedding coordinator,” Christy said with a gentle smile.
As a wedding coordinator, Christy takes care of all the details between the couple and the church. She is our liaison, making sure all of the departments at NMC know what’s going on and what is expected of them. In the midst of wedding dresses and flowers and photographers, the job of a wedding coordinator may get overshadowed, but her job is incredibly important to ensure the day flows smoothly.
Over the years, she has been a part of many weddings that could’ve end up in America’s Funniest Home Videos. No amount of careful planning can guarantee that a ring bearer will walk down the aisle or flower girl will actually throw her petals. Yet Christy loves her job, even when bumps come up.
“I get tired, but I never get tired of weddings,” Christy said.
One of the best parts of being a wedding coordinator is meeting with the couple. Since many marriages end in divorce these days, Christy doesn’t hold the wedding day itself as the most important thing. Instead, she thinks about the marriage and the life ahead of the couple. Speaking with wisdom, love and truth, Christy takes time to mentor the couple, to ask them hard questions and offer words of advice.
It’s these words of truth, love and wisdom that have made Christy an incredible wedding coordinator who cares more deeply for the hundreds of days of marriage than the single wedding day. And it’s this dedication and love that make Christy an incredible teammate.
In a single week at NMC, dozens of rooms are used, some more than once. People roam the hallways and track in mud from the outside. Young kids get sick, or have “accidents.” Rooms get messy, and trash can sometimes be left lying around. Did you know that a team of women walk through the church, picks up trash, cleans KidMin rooms, scrubs toilets and cleans the building we get to worship in every week?
This team’s fearless leader is Brenda Hawkins. Her crew begins at 4:15 a.m. each day when the church is silent and empty. They tackle each room together, emptying trash and cleaning windows among other things until about 12:00 p.m. This less-than-glamorous job is not for everyone. For Brenda, though, this job is a high calling, something she wouldn’t trade for the world.
“With cleaning, it may seem mundane, but it’s incredible to do it for a church,” Brenda said.
Week after week, Brenda wipes fingerprints off the doors, takes out the trash and scrubs the same toilets for the thousandth time. But she doesn’t see the dirt, the smudges, the messes. Instead, she sees ministry. To her, the job is more than dusting and sweeping. It’s more than trash and scrubbing. As she travels around to the different rooms with her team, the mission statement of NMC is always in the back of her mind: Make Fully Committed Disciples.
The job is not glamorous, but it provides such a unique way to build the kingdom and to invest in people. As Brenda and her crew of three or four other women work, she has the opportunity to invest in each one of them. As they work, they chat about life, about their families, about their joys, about their struggles. For the past eight years, this team of women has stayed consistent, allowing Brenda the chance to disciple them on a deep level.
For Brenda, her job is all about the people she gets to serve with. Whether it was during the Worship Center remodel or in her everyday job, she has found that people are what make her job so special. As her teammates, it has been an honor to serve with a discipler like Brenda.
We look forward to serving with these women for the next twenty years as they continue to minister at NMC.