By Lori Devaney | Photo by Cassie Johnston
Seasons of life. They all look a little different. Some are filled with appointments, meetings, raising kids. While other seasons mean more time to serve without the constraints of a day job. Bert and Mary McClard understand that. “As far as my retirement, it’s not like I’m going to be filling a void or anything to keep me busy,” says Bert. “Serving is really what’s expected scripturally. I think it’s for anybody who is a follower of Christ. It’s something we have done and plan on continuing to do.” Mary adds, “It’s obviously important for us to give financially, but just as important or maybe more important, is for us to serve and give our time.”
The McClards began attending Pathway in 1985. Their kids were involved in the children’s ministry and, as parents, they served consistently. But when the kids were grown and out of the house, Bert and Mary didn’t serve as they had before. “It’s not that we couldn’t serve. We just didn’t have the same connection we did when the kids were growing up.”
That changed, though, in 2002 when their son died. They started a support group to bring healing for themselves and to help others through the process, also. They held back serving in other areas until they heard of the new Goddard campus being launched.
“We felt God was really calling us to be a part of that campus…pretty much from the time we heard about it,” says Bert. “We just felt that God was nudging us, and we knew that it would be a big time commitment; we really had to be all in. We were pretty excited about that, and the excitement has continued. It kickstarted our spiritual commitment, because the Lord puts a lot of expectation on those that follow him,” says Mary.
The McClards have seen their lives transformed as they serve. They help new people at the Goddard campus find their way around, follow-up with visitors, assist with baptisms, and even opened their home one weekend for middle school Revive.
“There are so many opportunities for people to become involved. I think it’s important to keep yourself open to different ways of serving. It can’t be the same thing it was 10 years ago, 5 years ago. The world changes and being able to see the vision and being able to follow that is really important. Not just in serving the church as a whole, but also personally,” says Burt. “Truthfully,” Mary adds, “looking back, it just seems like our lives must have been pretty empty without this. I mean that sounds a little silly, but church and serving, and the friends that we’ve made, it’s all become such a big part of our life, that I can’t imagine not serving and not being a part of the church.”