For Rob Grooms, Men: Serve is much more than an opportunity for him to live out the calling in James 1:27 to look after widows in their distress. The ministry is also a way to disciple his two sons and to teach them about giving back to others. "Witt and Charlie love coming to Men: Serve," says Rob. "A lot of what we do as Christians today can seem complicated to a 9 and a 6 year old — but that is not the case with Men: Serve. We meet at church and go serve the widows. Hard to get much more simple than that."
On a typical Men: Serve Saturday, teams of four men are assigned to each widow based on the needs she has and the skills of the men. The work they do may involve yard work, landscaping, home repairs, car maintenance, and other tasks.
Even in a large church, Rob says he and his sons have been able to help a familiar face — a woman who had taken care of Witt and Charlie when they were infants.
"Our first time, we were assigned to Mae Bell — a woman who has served in the church nursery for over 50 years. She had held in her arms and changed the diapers of the same two boys who were now serving her. I can't think of anyone more fitting to help her than two of the thousands of children she had cared for."
Stories like that illustrate what Eric Reed, Minister to Men & New Christians, and others had in mind when the Men: Serve ministry was created. Now, Men: Serve is one of the Poor, Widows, Orphans, and Prisoners ministries receiving funding from MISSION 1:8.
"God fashioned men for so much more than simply being nice or good," says Eric. "He fashioned us to use our strength to help those who are vulnerable or in a time of need. He fashioned us to serve and build up."
There are approximately 400 widows at Houston's First, and about 50 of them have signed up to receive help from Men: Serve. Most of the rest have family members nearby who actively care for their needs.
While Rob and his sons helped a familiar face the first time they served, they had the opportunity to meet someone new at the most recent work day.
"We were able to serve Mary Evans. As we surveyed her backyard," recalls Rob, "she showed us work and repairs that had been done at earlier Men: Serve events. That showed me that our church isn't into one-time fixes. We're there to build long-term relationships with these precious ladies."
"When men engage in this sacred calling," Eric explains, "I believe they begin to come alive to something far bigger than themselves. They come alive to God's kingdom."
"I have received a dump truck full of blessings from each event."
Men: Serve is held several times throughout the year. Registration is required so Eric and the other organizers can form teams and match them with the needs of the widows they'll be helping that day. Visit the calendar for upcoming dates, or contact Eric.Reed@HoustonsFirst.org for additional information.