For 26 years, I worked in dentistry as a dental assistant. It was a fulfilling career that served me well, and I considered myself (still do) a dental nerd. Though it was beginning to take a toll on me physically, I had developed arthritis, and more specifically in my neck it was significant. All the years of looking down into a patient’s mouth were beginning to cause me pain. I had begun to pray for the Lord to present an opportunity to do something else with my life that would be as fulfilling, but not take me to my physical limit. At the end of the day sometimes, it was difficult to grip the steering wheel to drive myself home, my hands hurt that badly. I knew I needed to do something, what was not yet apparent. Until one day after work I received a call from our Pastor Lara wanting to meet me for coffee on my next day off. I of course accepted the invitation, not knowing what was in store for me. She presented an opportunity to work at our church as the new administrative assistant. Knowing I needed to discuss this with my husband, and of course pray about it, I went home hopeful. My husband was on board, he also recognized the physical ramifications the dental career had presented in my body. After prayer and our discussion about the changes it would make in our life, I accepted the job. I have enjoyed all aspects and have even been able to be a part of some new things implemented here. Blessed is an understatement.

Let’s go back to a time our worship teams attended the Worship 424 conference at Cedarville University. We love this conference, so many things offered from tech to song writing, to biblical counseling. Breakout sessions that cover a multitude of subjects, all related to worship. This one particular year I sat in on a breakout session with a speaker by the name of Natalie Runion. I have talked about her before, even referenced some of her biblical wisdom in a message I brought the church on a Sunday morning last year. She imparted some amazing nuggets on us, needless-to-say, she had an impact on me and how I approach my position at the church. She now has a ministry called Raised to Stay. It began in 2019 without knowing just how important it would become in my time here serving our church family. Though I love my job, it does have its ups and downs, I serve humans in a holy place. What does that mean? It means I do the hard and holy things with vulnerability, for the hurting, the fragile, and sometimes volatile people of a church. The title administrative assistant doesn’t really come with a job description that reads the way the previous sentence does, but it is what happens on many occasions. I do not take my position lightly, nor do I or will I take it for granted. In a time when the world is full of more evil and craziness than I have seen in all my life, we all need Jesus more than imaginable. That makes working for a church even more important to me than ever. Yes, I do paperwork, tend to the QuickBooks account, make sure the volunteer schedule is in order each month, take the church vehicles for maintenance now and again, among other things. But I also pray with folks, listen to their stories of need, anguish, frustration. And on occasion have hard conversations with them, even asking them to leave my office. See, hard! I don’t like to have to do those things, but when the Lord calls you into ministry, whatever it looks like, you must be accepting of all that comes with it, because you said yes. The Raised to Stay ministry is encouragement to finish the race (Hebrews 12:1-2), to see the work God put before you, to completion (Philippians 1:6). Yes, it’s hard, yes, it’s frustrating, yes it can make me cry sometimes and has. But it isn’t about me not having to go through those things. It is about the kingdom and what the Lord saw in me to help people see Him and seek His kingdom. If you’re called into ministry, you are called to stay. One day at a time, one tough decision, one difficult task at a time. All for Him, all for His glory, and all for the kingdom. Do the work of ministry that God has called you to, and STAY!

Carol Frear
Life Church Vineyard
Administrative Assistant