On Jan. 9, the Southeastern California Conference (SECC) hosted the annual Equipped 2 Serve training event. This Sabbath afternoon session offered inspiration for church members in leadership roles as well as for those who hope to use their spiritual gifts in the future.
Traditionally, the SECC has offered two annual Equipped 2 Serve events at two separate locations within the conference. Participants would enjoy meeting their ministry counterparts from other congregations and would share a meal together at the end of the day. Like many other activities this year, COVID-19 restrictions mandated that January’s event be offered virtually. Attendees registered through Eventbrite and then downloaded the Whova event platform onto their devices.
The afternoon training began with a brief general session with Keith Morris, senior pastor of the Riverside Kansas Avenue church. The program offered 20 ministry-related breakout sessions focused on ministries such as community service, greeters and hospitality, youth and children, and women’s and men’s ministries. Each hour-long workshop was repeated so that attendees could choose two topics from the 20 quality presentations.
Pastor Caleb Jara drew from the Gospels and the writings of Paul to share solid biblical teaching for these exceptional times. “Deacons and deaconesses are following the instructions of Christ in Matthew 10,” said Jara. “Christ calls His members to serve as He served His people.” Jara emphasized the importance of continuing the ministry even though church members are currently separated. “In Acts 6, we read that the Holy Spirit directed the apostles and the work of the deacons,” said Jara. “We must be alert to the doors that God is opening for us at this time.”
Karen Martell, SECC prayer ministries coordinator, drew upon the truth of James 5:16. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” she said. “True prayer is to know God, and the role of a prayer ministry leader is to help the congregation be God-centered and to see life from God’s perspective, not theirs.”
SECC President Sandra Roberts attended many of the sessions. “Each year I am reminded that the Equipped 2 Serve event is a good example of the body of Christ coming together,” she said. “Our goal is to equip each church member to use his or her God-given gifts to expand the kingdom of God.”
Even though church members are physically separated, the Equipped 2 Serve event provided strength and insight to SECC church members as they continue to follow God’s leading.
By Patricia Murdoch Zmaj