TEAMS is a monthly series that celebrates the talent and impact of those who serve at Hoboken Grace.
“Where have you seen God?”
It’s a question Pastor Chris challenged us to think about this week. But for the Writing Team, it’s the question that drives everything we do. As we think about what stories to feature in the newsletter and on this blog, we ask ourselves week after week where we see God working in our church family and in our city — what are the stories shaping our community?
Since the beginning of time, God has used stories to connect people. They are the strings that tie us together and draw us closer to Him. And in an age of social media and email newsletters, the power of story is greater than ever.
So once a month over coffee and brunch, we work through that central question: “Where have we seen God?” Sometimes the conversation centers on how we see Him using a specific person or team to impact our city. Sometimes we talk about a conversation we are working through as a church family, or discuss ways in which we see people looking for God.
From there, we think about how we can share that story. How can we show that God’s story is being lived out in our city? How can we help people continue to grow and live in healthy community? And, above all, how can we help bring people closer to God?
As we walk through these questions week after week — and after nearly 200 blog posts over the past year and a half — we see lives transformed and prayers answered. We see people passionate about serving, and things in our city worth celebrating. We see how your stories tie our community together and make all of us feel less alone.
Quite simply, we see God through your stories. So for this TEAMS post, it’s time we explain what serving on the Writing Team means to us.
I joined the Writing Team because I love stories, and I want to share how God is working in my life and your life with the rest of our church family. When I feel disconnected or far away from God, or like my prayer life is just me talking to myself about all the things that make me anxious, it’s the stories I hear in my dinner group that shake me awake and remind me that God can be trusted, He does answer prayers and His plans always exceed my own. These stories make me braver and give me peace. I write to shine a light on how God is moving in our city, because the story of God’s grace and power isn’t confined to the pages of a big book scribed thousands of years ago — it’s being written every day, all around us and in us. That deserves a headline.
When thinking about joining a team at Hoboken Grace, it was important to me to really consider where my God-given talents were strongest, the needs of the moment, and what I could actually commit to doing with the demands of my career. I work in the publishing industry, so the written word is very central in my life, and I’ve been blessed to have a strong gift for expressing myself and others through writing. I had been considering where to best serve at Hoboken Grace for about a month when I heard there was a need for people to join the Writing Team. It seemed like a no-brainer and where God was leading me to serve. It also allows me to actively serve even when I’m not physically in Hoboken — which is great for me, since I travel a lot for work.
Not only has working on stories with the team allowed me to take notice of where God is working in the lives of our community, but it has allowed me to reflect on my own spiritual needs and think about what topics are significantly impacting the lives of Christians at large, which has definitely influenced what projects I tend to take on in my professional life as well.
I was first invited to attend church by my friend Matt sometime last year. What made a deep impression on me was the way Hoboken Grace gave so much and helped people without expectation. And what I saw at the core of that community was a group of people who gave back their time to make Hoboken Grace run like clockwork. With so many people pitching in, I felt it only fair to start giving back too (plus, they kept feeding me breakfast).
Opportunity came knocking not too long after that when I saw the newsletter table at church one day. I’m an engineer by trade, but writing is my passion. Writing for the newsletter is simply something that fits my current strengths: my schedule is hectic and I frequently can’t commit to anything more than a week in advance. But writing is something I can squeeze into my spare time, and I love doing it. So far I’ve covered topics I would have never predicted encountering. It’s been an honor being able to tell some of the amazing stories people have shared with me.
To be honest, I was pretty hesitant about joining the Writing Team as it was starting up last year. While on the one hand it seemed like a good fit — I’d worked for a newspaper in some form or another since junior high — my mind went to some of my insecurities instead of what I could contribute. I thought about the fact that I didn’t know many people at Hoboken Grace, and that I’d probably have to ask total strangers intimate questions about their faith (or really cheesy questions, like what got them excited about the Easter Egg Hunt). I didn’t think anyone cared about what I had to say, and was wary it would be a huge time commitment.
But I’ve never regretted saying yes. I soon learned that serving on the team was one of the easiest ways to meet people at Hoboken Grace — and one of the fastest ways to get plugged in. Week after week, I get to see firsthand how God is moving in our community — how people are growing in their relationship with Him, and how He is using us to impact this city.
But the most rewarding part for me is seeing how God uses your stories to reach other people. I love hearing that a blog post showed up in the newsletter at just the right time — when someone felt particularly alone, when they were looking for a nudge from God, or when a story changed their perception of baptism or dinner groups.
We might be the Writing Team, but this is your blog. And this blog — this community — more than anything needs your stories. That doesn’t mean you need to join the Writing Team (although you’re welcome to, especially if you like a good brunch). That means we need your story here, in this space, even if your mind is darting to your insecurities right now, instead of what you have to contribute. If you’ve been thinking about sharing any part of your story (and especially if you’re hesitant about being on video), this is your opportunity. Because more than anything, we want to know where you’ve seen God.
If you’re interested in joining the Writing Team or sharing any part of your story, email Brittney at email@example.com.
The Writing Team
Mission: To tell God’s story inside our family via the Hoboken Grace blog, while helping people grow and live in healthy community.
The commitment: Members write weekly and attend monthly meetings.