Did you know there are over 100 unique roles filled by volunteers each month? In this series, Cindy Ziemba will be sharing stories of some of our wide range of volunteers at Ward Church, all serving to lead generations to live and love like Jesus!
Orna Fathers knows that volunteering is not easy. This busy mom of three is serving as a Ward elder, leads a Tuesday morning study for young moms, volunteers in the nursery, and participates in Girls for Days with her daughter.
“Sometimes I think, I could be doing something else right now. But it just takes the response of one person who expresses appreciation, or is helped, and I’m reminded why I’m there,” she says.
Orna is grateful for volunteers who have helped her grow in Christ, even when it wasn’t easy. “I had a youth leader who drove out of her way every week to pick me up and take me back home. Her servant heart and love taught me so much about God. In high school, we were encouraged to do community service, and I worked with a group of people who showed me who God is. I was there to get serving hours, but they were there to share God’s love.”
Orna and her husband Evan grew up in Australia. Evan’s home was more rural, where missionaries came to lead a church. “I think of that Pastor’s wife, and all she gave up to serve God. What a loving sacrifice, and they made such an impact.”
Evan’s work moved the couple to Germany and then to the U.S., where they first lived in condos at Six and Haggerty. A friend from work encouraged Evan to try out Ward Church. They’ve been here since—for about 12 years.
When Orna was asked to have her name placed as a candidate for elder, it was not an easy decision. First, there were the known requirements which would not be easy, like monthly meetings as well as other responsibilities that would take from her family time. But she also struggled to know that she was a good choice for the position. Orna studied what Scripture says about women in leadership. “I worried about taking a spot that someone else should have,” she said, “But I also realized that not doing something can be just as detrimental to God’s purposes.” She told the Nominations Committee yes after a period of several months of prayer with Evan, doing personal study and seeking council from wise leaders.
“If you are asked to serve, give yourself time to go to God about it. Listen to what He has to say. Go to Him first. Then connect with those who know you well and seek their input. Even if you believe God is saying “no” for now, He may be leading you toward that same thing in the future. Allow yourself time to hear Him.”
If you have a candidate to recommend for Ward elder, or would like to be considered, you may email email@example.com or note a name and the role for which you’re nominating the individual on your connect card anytime in February.