We want to introduce you to CCEF students who are carrying out the mission of CCEF in the local church. We share these to encourage you with the stories and work of those who similarly serve behind the scenes in church life and minstry. This is an interview with ruling elder George Koontz.
Can you tell us about your ministry role?
I am a ruling elder, and, along with the other elders, I care for people in our church. For example, an elder might meet to pray with people, or accompany the pastor to take communion to someone. My calling is in the areas of discipleship and mentoring.
What does your ministry look like?
I meet with people throughout the week, and I meet with couples with my wife. Usually they are people from church who we have a relationship with, who have sought us out as friendships developed. It’s often as simple as kicking back on the deck with one of the men, or having dinner together as couples.
Sometimes my pastor will ask me to pray with someone, and then I’ll come alongside as a fellow journeyman to help in whatever way I can.
How did CCEF come into the picture?
My pastor enrolled in Dynamics of Biblical Change, and he said I ought to take it, too. So I did, and what a change it made in my life. At the time, I was floundering in some personal circumstances. I felt awakened in Dynamics. I saw that God was in my trials, and that, even if they did not go away, he was deepening my faith and helping me. Dynamics helped me to identify the lies I believe, to hear the truth that I need, and to process it all through the gospel. God’s timing is so gracious. He equipped me to deal with my life, and that has given me hope when I talk with others.
Any ways you’ve seen God change your ministry?
I can’t tell you how many times the lecture of the week will cover something that moves my conversations in very hopeful directions with the people I meet. The classes have also taught me so much about relationships. It’s easy for me to disengage from others, but I have been challenged to pursue people, because Jesus pursues me all the time. I’ve also grown in seeking forgiveness more often—including asking forgiveness from people I minister to.
The Counseling in the Local Church class taught me to be more proactive with moving forward to pray with people. I no longer tell people, “I’m going to pray for you.” Instead, I ask, “Can we move over there and pray together now?” This reflects the reality of Jesus being with us, and it’s so vital to our time together. Praying together isn’t always comfortable, but I work through the initial awkwardness to get to what we really want: an actual relationship with Christ. I want the people I meet with to have more of Christ.
Any advice for people in situations similar to yours, in ministry but also working outside the church?
Growing in ministering to people is possible. God can use you as you are finding your hope in him. I want people to see that there are opportunities to serve, and that you don’t need a big plan. With learning or with ministry, it can start small. We just make ourselves available to people.
George Koontz is a ruling elder and small group leader at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Traveler’s Rest, SC. He teaches 5th grade at Stone Academy of Communication Arts.