Our Next Gen team would like to introduce you to some of our fabulous volunteers! We could not function without them and we appreciate all the time and energy they give each week to help keep the Next Gen ministry running smoothly. This month, we would like to introduce you to Keri Harpst. Read on to learn more about her and her family. If you see Keri on a Sunday morning or on a Wednesday night, thank her for serving and loving our children at Gateway Church!
Q: Tell us a little about your family.
A: I am married to Jamie, my high school sweetheart. We’ve been married for 14 years. We have 4 boys: Joseph-10, Will-8, Gabe-6, and Henry-4 and a house full of energy! Also our dog, Tank, is a boy so I’m wildly outnumbered.
Q: How long have you attended Gateway?
A: We’ve been at Gateway since the summer of 2019. We started attending after Vacation Bible School that my boys took part in. I was so impressed with the kids ministry even then. We’ve been a part of several special churches but we really were missing a church we felt connected to.
Q: In what capacity do you volunteer?
A: We started at an interesting time in history so for a large part we were online and weren’t meeting in physical church. I started volunteering right when we opened the doors again in the Fall of 2020 and continue to teach Sunday school for the 4 and 5 year old class. Our first year, we did Vacation Bible School packets so I helped with those as we didn’t meet in person. The next year I served as preschool craft coordinator and will continue that role this coming summer.
I also had been prayerful about Wednesday night programming at Gateway and in the summer God answered that prayer. I was given permission to restart Kingdom Kids on Wednesday nights as a catalyzed ministry. We’re in the middle of our second session that will end on March 9.
Q: Why did you initially volunteer to serve?
A: Initially I just wanted to plug in and get to know others. I love people and really wanted to connect to our church and the people in it. Then, after not being in church physically, I really missed that connection. I noticed there weren’t a ton in the sanctuary and God put on my heart, if not that many are back yet maybe they need help. So I asked and they did! I had always served in other churches we’d attended in children's ministry, so that’s just where I naturally gravitated toward.
Q: What do you enjoy most about serving?
A: Honestly, it’s a joy to serve the children of our church. It’s a direct reflection of the sweet families who attend our church. Their joy and love radiates every inch of their being and is contagious. The 4-5s in particular are just so full of life and fun. They crack me up! I think the highlights recently include children and parents telling me how much they love Kingdom Kids. It's a lot of work but that really lets me know that God is working in little hearts as we plant more seeds. We want them to enjoy church and to come as much as they can. That gives us more opportunities to speak truth to them in a world full of lies. I also have just been so blessed by God’s personal care of me through volunteers in Kingdom Kids. There are weeks where I don’t know if I’ll have enough, but God has never ever let me be short-staffed. He provides over and over! It has really just grown my faith and trust in Him! Shout out to those people who have shown up week after week to serve our children!
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: In my free time I like to create flower arrangements or work in my gardens. I really enjoy God’s creation. He makes beautiful things! I’ve been trying to start reading again as well. I have always really loved reading and well ya know, 4 kids doesn’t let that happen much!
Q: What would you say to someone who has been feeling the tug to serve, but who hasn’t taken the plunge yet?
A: First and foremost: PRAY! Where does God want you to serve? What gifts do you already possess from Him that could benefit our church body? We know we have many parts and they’re all needed to help our church grow and reach others. We know serving isn’t an obligation or a means of salvation but a way to express and share our love for Jesus to those around us. From personal experience, I know He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. He will provide for your every need when you step out in faith to answer that call. And what a privilege it is to serve our savior Jesus.
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