No one knows more about serving the Lord and others better than Apostle Paul. Throughout all his travels recorded in the Bible, Paul served the Lord with all his might in order to receive the one thing that mattered most–the crown of righteousness in Christ Jesus. What a testament to the man of God.
Today throughout the neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey there are many, many churches who stand on the same principles as Apostle Paul and countless others who have answered the call to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to care for the widowed and the fatherless. For two local churches in the city of Newark, “gladly serving others” has become a two-fold mission in serving their community and the Kingdom of God.
Newborn Weslyan Church located at 1002 18th Avenue, Newark, New Jersey, puts faith to flight with its feeding program that feeds over 200 hungry souls weekly. This food program is directed by the Senior Pastor, Reverend Frantz Telfort, who says, “In our efforts to reach out into the community, we have established several programs suitable for our members, visitors, and friends,” says Reverend Telfort. “The Newborn Weslyan Church introduces a Food Ministry sponsored by the Food Bank of New Jersey. The food distribution is open to the entire community and we thank God for the opportunity offered to those who find it difficult to provide a nutritionally balanced diet to their families,” says the Reverend.
“Our food pantry is opened on the first, third and fourth Saturday of the month from 2 pm to 5:00 pm. We are always in demand for volunteers and if the Lord puts it on your heart to serve, contact us at our office by calling (973) 373-8718 or go online and fill out our guest book form.”
Another such local church who puts their feet to their faith is Vailsburg Assembly of God Church at 962-970 South Orange Avenue in the city of Newark. With its many programs for every age group, Vailsburg Assembly of God is about to enter into another realm of serving Christ and people with its new, never before built Baby Daycare facility adjacent the church on Norwood Street. The new building will open its doors in 2012. The church’s present preschool, Growing Garden, is currently accepting applications for children ages 2½ to Kindergarten.
Children receive free meals consisting of breakfast, lunch and snack. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday from 7 am to 6 pm, with aftercare starting at 3 pm for school-age children 6 to 13 years old. While there children participate in craft time, different kinds of sport activities, various clubs, computer time, and cooking classes. “We have seen the need to educate individuals on various levels and ages, so why shouldn’t we invest in our children,” says Pastor Jermel.
“We have a strong desire to help families to maintain a safe and loving environment in which to live. We have adopted the philosophy, “loving is caring for each other regardless of one’s upbringing or income status.” We also realized that parenting can be a huge responsibility for some. At our Growing Garden Preschool, parents find support and resources to get them on their feet and keep them on their feet,” says Pastor Mayo.
“Let’s face it, parenting can be a very scary part to play if you are not ready, or are ill-equipped to take on all of what parenting entails. When parents bring their child(ren) to our preschool, they leave with the confidence that their little ones are in very capable and safe hands. Just like every school in the city, education remains our main focus to building communities and I believe with the grace of God, it will remain that way for several years to come. What I have learned from all my years as a pastor is that families and church just go together,” says the Pastor.
“The two combined form a network of growth, freedom and unity. Since 1993 Vailsburg Assembly of God has touched thousands of lives with one common phrase, “Loving God Completely. Loving People Unconditionally. Serving the world wholeheartedly” and we are adament about that. Here at Vailsburg we consider ourselves as the extended family to the community and the people who live in it. We are on a mission to cultivate the land and plant the seeds of togetherness, love, and relationship,” says Pastor Mayo.
“I’m more than certain that the seeds we plant now in the lives of people will indeed reap a good harvest for Christ later. As it stands now in our current preschool facility, we are able to counsel family members who are seeking guidance, direction, and an extended hand of hope,” says Pastor Mayo.
“With the building of our new facility in 2012, we are looking to do even greater things for the neighborhood and community. At some churches we still see people entering from the side door of the church instead of the front door. At Vailsburg Assembly of God those feelings of shame and isolation have long been dismissed because of our preschool. Our school has brought many families back together and our parents have since put their trust in us because they themselves have witnessed the incredible difference they see in their child and how they just love being at the preschool. Sometimes it’s hard to get the children to go home!” laughs Pastor Mayo.
“But seriously, the only reason we have lasted this long in the way of educaiton and with families is because we truly care for each and every person that walks through our doors every day. We are truly blessed to be able to serve unconditionally, pouring back into our neighborhood without measure. With God’s help, we will continue to serve on the contentions that all people deserve to live a fulfilled life to the glory of God, who I must say, continually enables us to do and give more beyond our own capabilities.”
What will your ability to serve the Lord and others say about you? Apostle Paul sought after that which could eternally be credited to his human walk, which was to do what God continues to ask of us all–“to serve the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” Can you imagine a Christian saying, “Oh, serving the Lord is too hard!” Joshua 24:15 plainly states, “If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve…But for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
According to these two church leaders, “Serving the Lord pays off”. In order to do the work of the Lord it takes belief that God’s promises and purpose continues to be fulfilled in and through all of us. According to Ephesians 6:7 “…for those who have been called to serve others wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he or she has done.”
God promises us that when we serve others, we in turn serve the Lord as well. With that being said, we are guaranteed to receive a heavenly inheritance from the Lord as our reward. Just like Apostle Paul, we all should desire to receive a crown of righteousness for serving the Lord with all that is within us. It remains true, there are no guarantees in life; but in Christ eternal life is our blessed assurance.