To raise funds for various renovation projects, the Bartlesville Seventh-day Adventist Church held a yard sale on Sunday, June 11, 2023. While the purpose of the sale was to raise funds, many of the volunteers discovered something else entirely. The hope was to use the proceeds to repair the parking lot and make the church more accessible to everyone so we could minister to our community more effectively. What we soon realized is that the yard sale was not a means to fund ministry, it was ministry. Mothers, grandparents, and people with little and much came to see what was available. The Bartlesville church was able to provide clothes for single mothers, tools and grills for fathers, free children’s and adult Bibles, and even a bunk bed for a family who just moved to town.
The yard sale became such a hit that the church continued its operations on Thursday of that same week, and finished with a FREE Yard Sale for anything left. When we opened the free yard sale on Friday the parking lot was flooded with cars. We had six tables of clothes at the start and by closing time we had only enough to cover one table! People were thoughtful about what they were taking and shared so much GRATITUDE for us giving away the clothes and house items.
In The Ministry of Healing we read, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (143).
I’ve found that often the hard part of ministry for most people is not giving a bible study and inviting a person to accept Jesus into their heart, but rather just getting started: mingling with people, desiring their good, becoming their friend, and meeting their needs. The first step is sometimes difficult, but once people get started interacting with others, they soon discover that God has blessed them with the ability and resources to share those blessings with others.
What has God given you that could be a blessing to others? Could you use your home to impact the people around you for eternity? What about your food or talents? Even your very presence? Ministry does not have to look like sacrificing thousands of dollars or preaching an impressive and moving sermon; it can be done using exactly what God has given you, like an old shovel or some shoes that do not fit you anymore donated to a yard sale.
The yard sale surprised many church members not because of how much money was made, but because of how ministry can be done in many ways, often unexpected. Who knew that selling used and old items could lead people to the church? Who knew a yard sale could motivate church members for ministry? Of course, God knew. We ventured to raise funds so we could do ministry, and on the way, we discovered that the yard sale WAS ministry.
by :: Dominick Alipoon