SLATER – After a long Saturday of scraping, prepping and painting the exterior of a woman’s home, the volunteers experienced a rush of joy and peace as they prayed for the woman’s upcoming surgery.
“It was a reciprocal joy that shone from the lady’s face and bounced to the faces of the volunteers and back again to the faces of the lady’s family,” said Paul List, pastor at First Baptist Church Slater and founder of the Missouri Valley Baptist Association’s Second Saturday Serve ministry. “Everyone was just beaming because of the glory of God. It was powerful.”
List started Second Saturday Serve last summer after coming home from a mission trip he took to Acuna, Mexico, where he helped build a house for a family in need.
“I was convicted to bring that kind of serving ministry to our local community and so the Lord led me to launch the Second Saturday Serve ministry within our association,” he said.
Rooted in Galations 6:9: “Let us now grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up,” on the second Saturday of each month a team of 20-40 volunteers from churches and ministries within the association come together to work on a mission project in Carroll and Saline counties. Prior to those Saturdays, List carefully checks each proposed project for safety and skill range, acquires the materials needed, and makes sure they have the right tools and volunteers needed for the job. A church in the association also provides breakfast before they start working, which is a great time of fellowship for everyone involved.
So far they have scraped and painted two houses, power washed houses, fixed decks, built stairs, built wheelchair ramps, cleared brush, cut down dying trees, torn down a condemned house, and even helped remodel a church basement for the Missouri Valley Collegiate Ministry in Marshall—and they haven’t even been at it for a full year.
“We are able to go in where local pastors are already loving their people and be the hands and feet of Jesus in a tangible way,” List said. “It has given feet to our faith and it has allowed the younger generation among us to see the importance of connecting with people and seizing opportunities to love one another because Christ first loved us.”
Scott Westfall, campus missionary for Missouri Valley College, has invited and encouraged more than a dozen college students to join in the effort for Second Saturday Serve. He has witnessed firsthand the impact this ministry has made—not only on those being served, but also on every person who donates their Saturday to think about others more than themselves.
“When you are 19 or 20 and you are chasing your dreams and you are trying to find the person you want to marry and everything is about you, you can become pretty self-absorbed,” Westfall said. “Service allows that perspective to change and it can counter the anxiety and depression many college students experience. God meant for us to stay focused on Him and on others so any time that happens it’s like things fall into place how they should be.”
List said one of his favorite parts of Second Saturday Serve is seeing the college students and youth from association churches work side by side with ‘seasoned saints’ as they strive to serve the Lord and other with joy.
“I love watching one generation teach the next generation how to work and use their hands for God’s glory,” he said.
List said he would love to see even more associations across the state pick up the vision of discipleship and ministry and start the conversations necessary to initiate this kind of ministry.
“You can even call it Second Saturday Serve…it won’t hurt my feelings one bit!” he said. “If God’s calling you to do it, start the conversations and put the rest in His hands. Look for opportunities and if it’s something God’s leading you to He will keep putting it in front of you and the details will work out beautifully.”