Last July, right in the middle of a pandemic summer, I attended my first Sunday at PCC. My best friend, who had been attending for a while, had invited me to join a Bible study that ended up being cancelled because of Covid-19. Since we couldn’t do Bible study together, she asked me to join her at a church service instead. Having grown up in a traditional Methodist church, I was a little nervous about attending PCC. Instead of organ and piano, I envisioned a full blown rock and roll band. But despite my uncertainty, I decided to give it a try.
I was blown away.
I thought to myself, “This is what I’ve been looking for.” Although it did take me a little while to get used to the music, now I love it. Pastor Brian recently mentioned that his worst nightmare is to give a great message and have nobody take anything away. When I came to PCC and really listened and engaged with the service, I was moved, inspired, and felt encouraged to understand the bigger meaning behind what it is to serve. I was moved to a place of wanting to figure out the all important question of “What’s next?”
As I started to attend PCC regularly, I began hearing about Growth Track. I checked it out on the website and although I had no idea what I was getting into, I decided to sign up in the hope of finding a group of people to connect with. Since I signed up during Covid-19, I took the class over Zoom, which is a good option for busy families or people with young kids. Growth Track really reaffirmed the feeling I had that I was moving in the right direction with my faith. It assured me that PCC was the right place for me. I knew I had become distant from my faith; I felt God nudging me to do something more.
At the time, I wasn’t looking to serve or become a member of PCC, I just wanted to try to get more connected and become part of the church a little more. Volunteering felt more like a task that needed to be completed, not something to be enjoyed. But one day, I felt like a light went on, and I really understood why it’s important to get involved. I decided to volunteer in PCC Kids by serving in First Steps, our classes for younger kids.
Interestingly, my neighbors were in Growth Track at the same time as me; prior to the class, we had really only seen each other from far away. We all started serving in First Steps and now we help each other’s kids learn more about Jesus on Sundays! I feel comfortable leaving my daughter upstairs because I know the servers—including my neighbors!—are taking good care of her. It makes it easier for me to really experience church when I know she is safe.
Growth Track helped me identify another unique way my particular skills could be used by God. In addition to serving in First Steps, I serve the Nottoway Micro-Campus by translating the Sunday message into Spanish. At first, I was a little skeptical—I wondered if the translations would really make a difference. But I took time to pray—over the decision, over the men it might help, over their situations and lives. We all make choices in life; I had a choice to provide a service to people I might never know, and I felt moved to make that choice. I hope the translations reach them and bring them together. I hope it gives them peace and hope.
Being able to serve has given me a greater sense of purpose and helped me to feel like I’m a part of PCC’s mission to bring people to church. Not too long ago, I invited a friend of mine to join me one Sunday. She came and brought her parents and now they attend regularly. My friend went through Growth Track and is now serving with me in First Steps. Her parents are getting ready to take the class as well.
Growth Track has helped me realize that church is so much bigger than me and my family. We have the opportunity to be part of a positive domino effect in bringing people to church. Having seen it play out in my own life, I’ve become more aware of the ripples—this idea that one person can impact another person who can impact someone else. The circles continue to widen when we all get involved and serve God with our gifts.
Sunday is now my favorite day of the week. I’m able to take what I learn in church and apply it not only in my own life, but also in the areas where I serve. I’ve realized that being selfless in serving is not only a gift to others, it’s also a gift to myself.