Finding, Encouraging, and Releasing a Gatherer
Zac Yonko, Vinco Brethren Church
“You really think I am a gatherer?” my dear friend Nancy asked just before our church began to grow last year. Nancy is a congregant at Vinco Brethren Church. She is quiet, observant, and mindful. Vinco is not Nancy’s childhood church, but it is her home church. She loves attending church, and we have built a great rapport. We talk every Sunday morning about anything and everything including church growth: why can we not seem to grow the church?
In truth, the church board talked quite often about how to foster church growth. We talked about how to attract new attenders – how to get people into the building to be the Church – but through the years, nothing seemed to work.
Then one Sunday, Bob came to Vinco. Bob was new, and I was curious how he found us.
“Well, Nancy and I got to talking at Walmart,” he shared.
That’s when I realized Nancy had a gift, a gift she probably didn’t even know she had. I approached Nancy after church on Sunday. “NANCY YOU ARE A GATHERER!” I exclaimed in sheer delight.
“A gatherer, what’s a gatherer?”
I described the GSE principle of gatherers and she replied, “You really think I am a gatherer?”
I went home that day not knowing if Nancy would take her calling to heart. She did.
The following Sunday, Nancy had a young family sitting beside her, and a couple Sundays down the road there was a young man sitting behind her that she gathered. Then there was another young family.
The gatherer was released to do what gatherers do, GATHER. Nancy was doing what God designed her to do.
That conversation with Nancy took place because I believe in the GSE principles and was bold enough to implement them when I heard Bob was in church because of Nancy.
Because of Nancy, Bob was here. Because of Nancy, her family is here participating in service. Because of Nancy, we will see baptisms take place. Because of Nancy a family member of hers is here reading scripture over the congregation and sharing his testimony. Because of Nancy, people are being edified, and souls are being saved.
You might be reading this story and picturing Nancy as a young, charismatic woman who is going out and meeting people. Nope. Nancy is a grandmother, retired military, with a gift God had instilled in her to be a gatherer.
So, who are the gatherers in your church or community? Watch for them. Listen for them. Build genuine relationships with them. Encourage them. Then let them loose. You’ll be amazed at what gatherers will do.
Gatherers do what they do because they are who they are. You don’t need to change them, but you may need to identify them and prompt them with an understanding of the gift they have. That lets them see the awesome ways God is using them and can use them, for His kingdom.