"'…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew 22:37–39).
These verses are often referred to as the Great Commandment. Our church Mission guides everything we do and the first two statements, Love God and Love People, are described by Jesus in these verses.
Tom Baugh has been Loving People at Bellevue for many years. Shortly after joining our church in 1993, Tom began to Serve In by teaching a Men's Life Group. He taught adult men for 22 years until the Lord led him to begin serving a new group of men.
"I sensed a calling to be a part of adult ministry very early in life, so I really questioned the Lord's prompting for me to move into High School Ministry," Tom said. "I felt I was being led but truly questioned if I was hearing correctly. I had never taught high school students and did not understand this urge to move from the adult world to teach teenagers. It didn’t make sense to me and actually was a bit terrifying for me to even consider."
"But I was reminded that life lessons can often be learned from life experiences, and Life Group Teachers have experienced more of life than the teens in their class. I am being obedient to the Lord by teaching these young men biblical truth, so they can avoid the mistakes I made earlier in my life. Teachers who are willing to share their own failures as well as victories can have an invaluable impact on the lives of those in their class."
When Tom began serving in Next Gen's High School Ministry, he started teaching boys in 9th grade with a desire to stay with them through their high school years. This past May, Tom and his co-teacher, Andrew Noblett, saw their first group of students graduate from high school. The four-year experience of watching them grow from boys to young men was so rewarding that they decided to begin again with a new group of 9th grade boys this school year.
Reflecting on the past four years with his first group, Tom's favorite memory was meeting eager students outside of class to teach them how to share the Gospel. They would learn and then go out to Share Jesus with our community.
"This has been a life changing experience for them as well as for me," Tom said.
I thought I would be the one teaching and blessing this group of boys; however, I discovered that I was the one blessed beyond what I could possibly imagine. I love these guys, and my life has been impacted by them in so many ways," Tom shared. "It's one of the top three best decisions I have ever made: 1) accepting God's gift of salvation 2) marrying my sweet wife 3) teaching a group of high school boys! It just doesn't get much better than that!"
Everyone is invited to join us on our Mission to Love God and Love People. One way to Love People is by Serving In with compassionate care both inside and outside our church walls. There are a number of ways to Serve In at Bellevue, and it is our hope and prayer that you discover where you can use your gifts to serve the Lord and our church.
If you would like to learn more about how you can Love People by Serving In, visit bellevue.org/serve-in.