My name is Mary Price. My husband, Rick, and I joined Christ Church in early 2018 after moving to College Station from Katy, TX. Over the past five years, many changes have occurred. The obvious is the increase in new programs and groups, the expansion of the building itself, and the long spiritual battle and ultimate decision to move to the Global Methodist church.
I have the pleasure of serving Mending Hearts, which has seen major growth recently. The Children’s Bereavement program was a new branch that started in the summer of 2018 and is led by Hillary Oswald. It started with a camp for children who had experienced a close personal death, such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, etc. I served at that first camp and have continued to serve with that group as it has expanded. We work alongside grieving families, listening to their pain, and “doing life together” has taught me the following:
God calls us all to give of ourselves to help others. We are called by Christ to give of our skills, resources, gifts, talents, etc. to help raise others up.
We ALL have challenges – we need people to help remove us from our “stuck place,” and we need to help others. We need to engage people, especially people who think, act, or feel differently than we do. So we can all learn and grow. Our life serves a purpose that does not come from within but from God.
God created us for relationships, to care for and support each other. (1 Thes 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just in fact you are doing.)
These five things exemplify what it means to be a part of the Christ Church family.
Stephen Ministry (S.M.) is another program I am currently involved in. Christ Church is blessed to have Tommy Myrick guide Stephen Ministry. He has a very “laid-back” personality. He is genuine, authentic, and heartfelt in his devotion and care to the congregation and hurting people. As Tommy puts it, “he loves us, and there is nothing we can do about it!” S.M. has been around for a long time. However, many people are not aware of the value of this resource. S.M. provides one on one confidential care to people in our congregation and community who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. A Stephen Minister is given 50 hours of training in providing high-quality, distinctively Christian care. They listen, care, pray, support, and encourage anyone who is hurting, faced with a crisis, or going through some difficulty. (Gal 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you fulfill the law of Christ.) My “takeaways” from the training and serving in this area are…
We are wired for meaning, purpose, and hope. We can not find purpose on our own. It is given to us by God. God created us for Him. He gives us meaning, direction, purpose, and hope. (Phil 1:6 Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.)
People look within and find… nothing. We ALL struggle with this – haunted by an inner emptiness,
a vacuum, and ultimate meaningless existence. Physical and emotional pain can bring this to the surface. Distress, disequilibrium, and anxiety can lead to a crisis, and we can take the path to greater wholeness or greater brokenness.
We need to return to a complete and meaningful wholeness. We need to be rescued and restored. We know we need something/someone to give our life back. That Someone is Jesus Christ – it is not something. We too often chase the “something” (material wealth, power, prestige, pleasure).
Christ gives us what we truly need – to be forgiven and loved unconditionally and the ability to return that love.
God is the Cure-giver; we are just the caregivers.
The Lord designed us for community – we need each other for mutual support and to do life together. Christ Church offers so many opportunities to do this, from the vast number of Bible studies and support groups to coming together and worshiping God and growing through it all. It is said that the chief end of man is “to glorify God.”
Romans 5:5-6 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ Church worship services are a conduit for what God created us for. It is obvious that Pastor Jerry House relies on the Holy Spirit to deliver his Sunday message and his sermons do not shy away from tough topics. I appreciate and respect the courage and faith it takes to do so.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Becoming involved has blessed me so much more than any effort I have given. I have been able to grow in areas I struggle with, like trusting God and trusting God alone to work in my life, growing in my prayer life, setting personal boundaries, and all the many battles with a self-absorption that gets me mired down in myself. There will be many more areas of deep struggles, soul-searching, and faith-testing moments for me, the church, and the community.
However, doing life together as God designed it to be is what Christ Church is all about. God designed each one of us to play a unique and vital role in His great Kingdom.
1 Cor 12:12-27 There is one body but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts. Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body. The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And He has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy. You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.
We need each one of you. Christ Church has just the place for you!
In closing, it is easy for me to feel small and helpless in the face of overwhelming suffering, pain, and needs. However, through Christ Church missions, like Mending Hearts, Stephen Ministry, and Care Team, I have been able to join together with other Christians, and as a group, with Christ at the center, have the power to make a difference, to be a blessing and to fulfill the Church’s mission here on earth. As the Mending Hearts ending poem states:
We stand hand in hand, laugh in the good times, cry in the bad times
but together we stand hand in hand.
Mary, thank you so very much for your beautiful testimony! Thank you for using your gifts to the glory of God, for your faithfulness, and for your love for others. What a wonderful blessing to be a part of Christ Church and The Church! Prayers for God’s blessings and favor over all that you set your hands to do.
Thank you for sharing your testimony. God knows just where we fit and He know how to but us in place to be part of the whole picture connected with one another. We often err in trying to put ourselves in place something like working on a jigsaw puzzle. But with God there is no trial and error, for He has made us and knows exactly where we fit. Each of us is uniquely made new in Christ for us to do according to how He has made us. Eph. 2:10. God is speaking to me by your testimony. You are indeed a blessing. It causes me to pray may I by God’s grace take hold of that for which God took hold of me.
Mary, thank you for sharing your testimony. I found great truth in your ending comment “it is easy for me to feel small and helpless in the face of overwhelming suffering, pain, and needs. However, through Christ Church missions, like Mending Hearts, Stephen Ministry, and Care Team, I have been able to join together with other Christians, and as a group, with Christ at the center, have the power to make a difference, to be a blessing and to fulfill the Church’s mission here on earth.” It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all the needs around us. Your testimony shares that by joining hands, we can be Christ’s hands and feet to the world. God Bless you!
Your testimony is an inspiration, Mary, and we are so fortunate to have you and Rick as part of the Christ Church family – part of the body of Christ here in College Station.