Church celebrates minister's 30th anniversary
Jacqui Green joined Stony Stratford Community Church in 1984 and has served faithfully ever since
It was a time of thankfulness, looking back and focusing on Jesus at the Buckinghamshire Baptist church last weekend.
Jacqui was inducted there (then called Stony Stratford Baptist Church) in 1984, and Steve Hepden, the man who preached back then, gave the sermon at her anniversary 30 years later.
She was presented with gifts at the service, which was followed by a lunch for the fellowship that lasted deep into the afternoon. Messages from colleagues were also shared, highlighting the way Jacqui has been a mentor for many.
During her long ministry Jacqui was initially Associate Minister, before becoming Senior Minister in 1994.
‘I love my church and consider it a real privilege to have been serving them for so long,’ she said. ‘I believe that the most important thing is knowing how much God loves us and then giving that love away. It is a privilege, and exciting, to look for ways of loving and blessing people who do not yet know God.’
Her ministry has always had a strong emphasis on pastoral care, she continued, and of course, there have ups and downs over 30 years.
‘You wouldn’t believe me if I said otherwise!' she said. 'But we are disciples, on a journey, learning to love as Jesus loved and live as he lived. For me the most challenging verse in Scripture is 1 John 2:6 Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus walked. How we handle any problems that comes reveals how seriously we take our discipleship.’
One of the greatest challenges of sustaining ministry over a long time in one place is staying fresh and enthusiastic. In this respect her fellowship has helped Jacqui by releasing her to engage in ministry beyond, which in turn has given her renewed energy and insights to give back to the church.
These opportunities have included Pastoral Team/speaking at Spring Harvest; Hospital Chaplaincy; Trustee of Claybury Trust – a ministry supporting leaders and churches; Serving on Baptist Union Council and on local and National Ministerial Recognition Committees.
More recently God has opened doors for her to serve His church in Uganda through our links with Kampala Children’s Centre.
‘This has taken me well out of my comfort zone but been an exciting and challenging time. I have become increasingly involved in working with Pastors and churches offering training, equipping and encouragement and speaking at conferences.’
Stony Stratford Community Church has also sent summer teams to support the work at the Children’s Centre.
‘The Church (generally) needs to be willing to leave its comfort zone if it is going to reach those beyond its doors,’ said Jacqui, ‘it’s easier to ask the church to do that if the minister is also doing it!’
In a message to her congregation following the anniversary service, Jacqui said, ‘I really enjoyed the whole day and you did a wonderful job of making me feel loved, valued and appreciated.
‘It was a privilege to have Steve Hepden preach – there can’t be many occasions when someone preaches at an induction and a 30th anniversary!
‘The worship team also did a great job enabling us to focus on Jesus and enjoy His Presence – after all it is really JESUS it is all about, not us.
‘And they did a wonderful job of using the song which is really special to me: I give myself away so you may use me.’