This month, our Kidway volunteer spotlight is on Lauren Shivers. Lauren grew up in Findlay and married her high school sweetheart, Michael. They’ve been married for 10 years and have 3 children, Ava (6 yrs old), Rachel (4 yrs old) and James (1 year old). I love Lauren’s heart to serve our children at Gateway Church, and we are thankful to have her help this year as our VBS Director! Read on to learn more about Lauren and about ways you can plug into the Next Gen ministry!
Q: How long have you attended Gateway?
A: I have attended Gateway since the very beginning. I was in the 5th grade when Gateway began, and it has been incredible to watch our church family grow.
Q: How long have you been a volunteer in Gateway’s Next Gen ministry?
A: I began officially serving in Gateway's Next Gen ministry in 2012 after my husband and I got married and started our life together in Findlay. Even though that's when I became most involved in serving the next generation, I did serve as a group leader for VBS when I was a 6th grader! I loved leading these kids and being given this opportunity at such a young age!
Q: In what capacity do you volunteer?
A: I currently serve with Kidway in the Special Needs Room. Michael and I are also Life Group leaders, serve on prayer teams and serve at Kingdom Kids on Wednesday nights. This year, I am serving as the director of our 2022 Vacation Bible School! There are so many areas where you can serve, especially during VBS week! It’s amazing how many people we need that week for everything to run smoothly.
Q: Why did you initially volunteer to serve?
A: I wanted to serve because I saw a need. We didn't always have a special needs room. Before becoming a stay at home mom, I worked at a school for children with Autism and I was so blessed to get close with one of the students and his family. I invited them to VBS and then to church each week. I served as a buddy with this student until we worked toward having our very own room to serve more kids with special needs! It is honestly amazing to see how this room has been used to better communicate the gospel to these children and to give parents time to hear the sermon knowing there is a place for their child.
Q: What do you enjoy most about serving? Do you have a highlight story to share?
A: I love working with kids! My all time favorite story is from VBS. I was leading the special needs group during its first year. We were in between rotations and waiting for the next activity. Our group was seated on the steps of the stage while we watched others play a game where you run to a side if something you love gets called. The person announcing yelled things like "run if you love pizza...if you love swimming...if you love the color blue, etc." and then she announced to "run if you love Jesus!" We had a little boy hop right up off the steps and scream, "I LOVE JESUS!" and he ran across the gym! The pure joy he had is such an inspiration to how we all should live!
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: My free time is mostly spent with my kids. We love board games! It is a great way for our family to come together and have fun! I also enjoy drawing and painting!
Q: What would you say to someone who has been feeling a tug to serve, but who hasn’t taken the plunge yet?
A: Just sign up! There are many different ways to serve to utilize your skills and interests. You will not only fill a need and help others to receive the gospel message, but you will also meet so many wonderful people that will become great friends!