Serving the Community Reaps Large Dividends
Story by Debra Anderson
It is not uncommon to find church leaders struggling to find ways to go beyond the premises of the church to minister. In the Potomac Conference, however, pastors, principals, teachers and office workers are being challenged to do just that—to extend themselves “Beyond the Walls.” For the last year, congregations around the conference have been intentional in living the gospel of Jesus by reaching out to help those in their local communities.
Jorge Quintiana (pictured above), pastor of the Virginia Beach (Va.) church, shared with his members his vision of doing more to help those in their community. Several meetings and lively discussions later, the church felt God was leading them to assist Tapestry, a local nondenominational congregation in need of a facility to hold its Sunday worship services.
Quintiana believes that that decision was one of the best of his ministry: “As pastors, it’s natural to perform well when we are in church but going outside the physical structure can put us in a space where we are not as comfortable,” he says. “It’s not that leaders and members don’t want to reach out to their communities, but sometimes people are scared of what they don’t know.”
According to Quintiana, what they did not know was the strong bond of kinship that would be formed with members of Tapestry; it is not unusual to have members of Tapestry worship with the Virginia Beach congregation.
Gary Spell (pictured right), pastor of the Tapestry congregation, was moved by the kindness shown to his members, that as a way of saying thank you, his church recently presented a $10,000 check to the Virginia Beach congregation. He also asked Quintiana to teach him about Sabbath observance. What began as outreach for the Seventh-day Adventist congregation has turned into an opportunity to share their faith.
Spell says, “We want to bless this church because the pastor and his members have been such a blessing to us.” He told Quintiana that their bond is so strong that, “when we leave this church, I want it to be the saddest day of your ministry.” Quintiana believes it will indeed be a sad day.
Encouraged by opportunities to minister “Beyond the Walls,” Quintiana focused his sermons on intentional engagement with the community. One such message left such a deep impression with a visitor that he wrote a check for $150,000 to be used, he said, for God’s glory. The same visitor returned the following week with another check for $50,000.
What Quintiana knows for sure is that we serve a God that will bless beyond what we ask when we are faithful to do His will.