SIMPLIFYING FAITH STEPS WITH THE GILBERT FAMILY 

BY: KEVIN RIMANDO

OK, so full transparency: I originally agreed to write this article so that I could make a plug for more volunteers for the production teams, and to shout out all the work those teams do every week. Both of those things are still true, however the heart of this shifted by the end of my interview.

There is an entire family that serves on the BASM production team. When Josh Lowrie, our BASM Production Coordinator, told me about this I was skeptical that he could even pull that off (oh me of little faith). Recruit one student for your team? Sure. Both siblings? Why not. Two students and one parent? Impressive. But both parents and both kids? Impossible. But since late-2018 I had heard rumors of this volunteer-unicorn that is the Gilbert family.

My first run-in with the Gilberts was brief, and I didn’t talk to them at all. Back before COVID, all the worship and production teams would gather in the auditorium and Jonathan Madrid would share a devotional with everyone before we all split up into the various rehearsal spaces. Josh’s production team is almost entirely students, and Katelyn (daughter) was serving that weekend. Her mom, Jen, was also in attendance, and I assumed it was to provide transportation for her daughter to and from rehearsal. Josh informed me later on that they were both actually serving on his team that weekend. So half of this mysterious serving-family was confirmed. Maybe Josh was exaggerating and when he told me an “entire family” served on his team, he really meant just Jen and Katelyn.

A few weeks ago, I sat down to interview the entire Gilbert family. They do exist, they are not unicorns, and they are a lovely family: Troy (dad), Jen (mom), Brandon (son) and Katelyn (daughter). My first question, obviously, was did they all actually serve on Josh’s production team? Yes. That was it. Mystery solved. Story complete.
My second question was, “How did Josh convince all of you to serve together?”

Please don’t misinterpret my tone. Of course it is incredible that an entire family wants to serve together. We are in constant need of people serving, and I love seeing people using their time and talents to serve the body. One of my favorite parts of this job is that we choose to “do the work” with volunteers, not paid professionals. It is an incredibly beautiful experience to produce a Sunday gathering with a team of people who have chosen to give up time and energy, after a full week of work and family, in order to serve the church. But my experience in ministry so far has been individuals serving, not entire families. I don’t know why I was surprised by their answer to the question.

“How did Josh convince all of you to serve together?”
“He just asked us to serve.”

If you’re anything like me (hopefully you’re not), you’re thinking there must be more. But in a beautiful way, their story of serving is very simple and direct. Josh extended an invitation to serve on the production team during a gathering, no previous experience required. Katelyn and Brandon expressed interest, and Josh welcomed them onto his team. As a half- joke, Josh asked if Troy and Jen wanted to serve alongside their children. And that’s how Josh brought an entire family onto his team. He made an invitation to the Gilberts, and faithfully they chose to try something new.

I tend to overthink things (understatement of the year), and so I asked each member of the family why they served on the production team. I hoped for some complicated back story of how they had years of professional experience in the production world from tours and serving in lots of big churches over the years. Their answers were way better than some intricate back-story.

Troy: “We are all called to serve. It is part of our spiritual growth. And the testimony of serving builds the community. The more people serve, the easier it gets for everyone already serving.”
Jen: “I enjoy being a part of the whole team. By serving, I am also helping the other people on the team do what they are called to do. I am not tech-savvy at all, but if I can serve on the production team, anybody can serve.”
Katelyn: “I like being able to do something that I can see directly affects and helps the gathering and that what I do is helpful.”
Brandon: “I like challenging myself and seeing what I can and can’t do.”

At the end of the interview, I asked everyone if they had one thing they wanted everyone to know about serving on the BASM production team. While all four had meaningful answers, I was most impacted by what Katelyn and Brandon had to share. Katelyn is only a freshman in high school, but her answer revealed a confidence that she has learned through serving:

“It can feel really intimidating to try and get involved. I’ve had a couple people come up to me and ask about serving on the tech team. And I’m like, ‘Oh, you should go talk to Josh.’ But I guess to them Josh is some mysterious guy, and they don’t ever go through with it. Don’t be afraid to reach out, we want you to come and help out. It’s really fun. And more girls should come and serve!”

Brandon is a senior in high school:
“It doesn’t matter the age of the person [serving] or if you have a disability. I’m trying to show that people with disabilities can also serve on the production team because it doesn’t matter how you are built, you can still help.”

My favorite part of the Gilberts’ serving story is how it reflects our relationship with Jesus. Jesus invites us to take steps of faith that deepen our relationship with Him. Sometimes we are asked to step into things that are new or that we are “unqualified” for, and the step of faith is to choose obedience and trust that God will provide what we need. I don’t know about you, but I often over-complicate faith steps by focusing on what I don’t have. Troy, Jen, Brandon and Katelyn are a perfect example of trusting God. They didn’t have years and years of production expertise. But they were obedient to Jesus’ call to serve, and He proved to be faithful by providing them with the training they needed through Josh.

Sometimes we know what Jesus is calling us into, but we make it more complicated. We worry about what skills we don’t have or if we are the “right person” for the job. The Gilberts are a reminder that faith steps are sometimes simpler than we make them out to be. When Jesus called, they trusted His invitation and chose to obey.

In the most unexpected and beautiful way, God took this story in a different direction. Turns out, it’s less about serving on the production team and more about taking faith steps.