Reflections on the 2008 Ministry Volunteer Program
What Is MVP?
The United States General Assembly
held its first Ministry Volunteer Program (MVP) from July 8-21 at Garden Grove
Church. This two-week internship was created with several goals: to cultivate future workers
for various ministries and to spread awareness of the need for volunteers; to provide
in-person training in highly-specialized areas; and to provide an opportunity
for youths to volunteer for the church during summer break.
This year MVP consisted of four projects: GA Library,
E-Library, Freshman Survival Guide, and Commentary on the Gospel of John. Team
leaders led each project, and the participants were divided into the teams
based on their interest.
Members of the GA Library team worked
each day at the USGA office implementing a book and CD library system under the
guidance of an experienced librarian. They catalogued the many different genres
of books in the USGA library and input all the information into a database. A
large set of audio CDs was also catalogued.
With the book and CD library
system organized and set up, members from the USA will be able to make good use
of these resources from the USGA library. In addition, having learned the
process of implementing a book and CD library system, members of the GA Library
team can put their newly-acquired skills into good use at their respective
The E-Library team learned various
aspects of e-library content management including formatting, uploading, and indexing
web content. Participants in the E-Library were in charge of preparing
publications such as Bible Study Guides and RE textbooks so that they can be
viewed online. These resources are now available through the e-library website.*
Freshman Survival Guide
The Freshman Survival Guide team
contributed to the creation of a collection of college-related testimonies and
experiences that will be given to high school seniors. The team edited over
fifty testimonies in addition to writing their own testimonies for the guide. All
of the testimonies and articles were categorized into different aspects of
college life, which can be a useful tool for encouragement for members entering
Commentary on the Gospel of John
Participants in this team learned ancient
Greek and studied key chapters of the Gospel of John in preparation for
in-depth analysis of the book. Learning the Greek alphabet and vocabulary
allowed team members to start translating short sentences and reading the
original text of the New Testament. Through systematic study of key words in
the book, participants drew out the teachings into articles.
I thank God for giving me the
opportunity to attend MVP full time and be part of the commentary team. Though
I had little idea of what the workshop would be like, every moment was a
blessing from God.
Prior to MVP, I thought we would
perhaps read the Gospel of John and comment on the verses. Having attended Bible
study for many years, it seemed like an easy task. However, when we were told that
we would be learning Greek for the majority of the time, I realized that there
was more to it then just “commenting.”
We learned the Greek alphabet as
well as grammar and sentence structure, which gave us the tools to start
studying key words in depth. Participants were divided into pairs for word
studies on certain key terms in the Gospel of John. Each verse with that key
term was studied and analyzed within the context of the chapter, then
categorized according to its usage.
Finally, we analyzed each category
in detail and summarized our findings in an article on the given topic. The
learning process was not an easy one, yet it was such a rewarding
I realized that it was through the
most basic step of learning Greek that God wanted me to re-examine my attitude
and heart in serving Him. There had been moments in the past when I felt I was
ready to serve, yet I was faced with challenges and discouragement and my zeal
soon disappeared. Why was it that my fervor could not last through both sunshine
After two weeks of MVP, I found
the answer I was looking for: Moses is an example for us to follow in staying
zealous for God. Though Moses was chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt,
God waited for eighty years before calling him. When Moses felt he was ready to
do God’s work, to deliver His people out of suffering, God did not use him
So likewise in our service, we
must also be trained prior to being used by God. God’s work is not accomplished
overnight but step-by-step. Learning the Greek alphabet is the foundation; with
it we will be able to understand the original text of the Bible and better
understand God’s word. This is like our daily spiritual cultivation of reading
the Bible and praying; with them, our spiritual life will be healthier, helping
us understand the will of God.
It truly takes determination,
dedication, and endurance to fully ready ourselves for God’s use. All three are
necessary in serving God, and none can stand alone. Determination is to know
that we will serve God until the end regardless of what we may face in the
future. Once we have a clear understanding, then there must be dedication.
It may sound easy, but it is very
difficult to maintain a dedicated heart, mind, and soul. Dedication is to strengthen
our determination with the help of daily spiritual cultivation. By this, we will
have perseverance and endurance through all the challenges we might face in our
service for the Lord.
Lastly, MVP has shown me that we
are indeed one in the body of Christ. Although the participants spent most of
the time in their respective teams, we all put our totality into serving God
and His church. God has given each participant different gifts and abilities;
as long as we have the heart to learn and to serve Him, He will add strength to
It does not matter what part of
the body of Christ we are because all are equally important.
And if one member suffers, all the members
suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
(1 Cor 12:26)
thank God for giving us the opportunity to learn to serve Him better; to serve
God truly works in mysterious
ways. Before coming to MVP, I was struggling to find peace and joy in my heart
because my life was so busy. I was mentally tired of all the things going on
around me and in me. It felt like I was on a train that never stopped.
I was excited to attend MVP and
join the commentary team because I knew I would be immersed in God’s word,
learning and commenting on the Book of John. What I didn’t know was that I
would have to learn how to read, write, and speak Greek, learn the skills of
exegesis, and how to research topical studies.
Would something like this give someone
a heart of peace and joy? On paper, the answer may be no, but this was exactly
the medicine I needed. I came out of MVP with not just a heart of peace and
joy, but a heart overflowing with
peace, joy, and zeal to continue to serve the Lord.
At MVP, I would wake up every day
refreshed and ready to go, excited to learn, hear, and see what was going to be
new. All the classes, prayers, sharing, and fellowships were like drinking a
cold glass of water after running a marathon on a hot summer’s day.
It was such a good feeling to see
all the participants in different projects working diligently and completing
their tasks. Although we were separated into four different groups, we all
worked together as one body in Christ, and all of our labor was put forth in
service to our almighty God. What glory and honor that is!
Sometimes, after serving the Lord
for years, we fail to remember the true essence of why we are serving the Lord.
We begin to wonder what others think about our service, and forget about how
the Lord considers our service. This
is where I failed. Many times in my servitude, I felt alone, discouraged, and
wanted to give up. It felt overwhelming to take on certain tasks.
But through MVP, I learned
valuable lessons from Moses’ life that I didn’t realize before. Moses also felt
alone, discouraged, and did not want to take on the task of leading the
Israelites out of Egypt. However, he did not go empty handed. Before Moses took
on this great task, God trained him for eighty years and equipped him with
three signs (Ex 4:2-10).
The rod that Moses carried with
him to do all the signs and wonders was not his rod, but God’s rod. Likewise
for us, the Lord will provide for us and will equip us before we do His work. We
each carry a rod in our servitude, and it is a rod that God gives to us that
belongs to Him. And because our rod belongs to God, He will surely bestow on us
power and strength to carry out any task.
As we hold onto this rod in our
servitude, God promises that His spirit will forever be with us, only an arm’s
length away, as long as we do not let go of our rod.
The blessings that God has given
to us freely cannot be numbered. We are not worthy to serve this almighty God.
But because this Lord that we serve is so loving and merciful, He has given us
this chance, this opportunity to pay Him back for all He has done for us. This
in itself is a blessing in disguise.
MVP is not just about finishing
the project we are assigned to do, but it is about learning how to serve the
Lord, giving back to the church, reviving the fire within our hearts, working
as one body of Christ, and understanding who we are as royal priests.
I thank God with all of my heart
that He has given all of us this precious opportunity to serve Him. God has and
is always faithful to His loved ones. I can only hope and pray that as the days
go by all of us, coworkers near and far, will be able to serve Him faithfully
and keep this fire burning within us day and night.
*The e-library can be viewed at http://ia.tjc.org/elibrary/Landing.aspx.