Sarah is a 40-year-old stay at home mom and former high school Spanish teacher. She has served in a variety of different volunteer roles, but most recently Sarah serves on the PREACHING TEAM and leads our CONTENT TEAM, which is
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Welcome to the untapped church podcast where I’m going to spotlight the great work that’s being done by volunteer leaders. To help inspire other volunteer leaders. We’ll talk about what these leaders do for a real job, and what they do for volunteer job and we’ll hear about interesting careers that you may have never heard about before, as well as actionable principles to help with your volunteer work. This first season we’ll be highlighting high capacity volunteer leaders from Grace Church who have all been spotlighted in my book called untapped church. If you’d like more information or anything around this subject, you can visit my website, Derek sanford.com. And obviously, if this podcast is helpful to you, please first of all, subscribe to it so that you can get all the latest episodes, but then also like, and share, and even comment, all of those things are helpful in helping us to reach a broader audience. Today, I’m joined by a 40 year old stay at home mom, a former high school Spanish teacher, Sarah, Bert, Sarah grew up in our south of Erie, Pennsylvania little town called guys mills. She’s served in a variety of different roles along the way here at Grace. But most recently, Sarah serves on our preaching team, she leads our content team, which is responsible for writing curriculum and ebooks and blog posts, and is also a new contributor to the YouVersion Bible app, creating Bible studies for both our church and obviously for the whole wide world. Today, we’re going to talk about being a stay at home mom, as well as speak directly to volunteers working on the content creation side of your church or organization. So welcome, Sarah. Thank you. Great to have you here. Yeah. Did I actually tell you my age? I don’t know. But listen, I use the age thing, because I think it will be helpful to people it will be I realized that it’s painful for especially you ladies do not like to have that thrown out there. But
I want people to get the full picture of like, you know, where different volunteers are at like their stage of life, because I think that’s helpful to people to go oh, you know, I’m there. So is that was that the correct number now? Yeah, it’s definitely the correct. All right. Sorry. All right. I meant 29 year old Sarah bird.
Yeah, that’s better. All right. Yeah, we can. We can settle in now. Sarah, how long have you been around here? Around Grace ish? Yeah. So that’s a good question. I’ve been around Grace ish for 13 years. Yeah. And then volunteering for about 11 of those 13 years. Right on. So I want to talk about your real job first, which is right now stay at home mom, Spanish teacher just stay at home mom. Yeah. And I have questions. Okay.
Yeah. Oh, gosh.
Talk about that shift. So you’re a teacher. Yeah. And you shifted out of that. So what like made that happen? Yeah. Decide that? What was it like? So I love in a backup one. Time I was teaching Spanish when I met my husband, Nate. And when we got married, I was like, Oh, my goodness, how do I both teach full time and be a wife? Like, that was a mental transition for me. So then when I got pregnant, I looked at him and I was like, I cannot be a third thing. I cannot do three things at the same time. I don’t think I can do it. So I just like knew that multitasking, large roles was hard for me. So I was able to stay home, which is so so thankful for. Yeah, that’s cool. So what was the shift like for you, when you when you made the switch or the things you learned? I know my wife worked full time and then stayed home for a while. And then like, yeah, went back to 40 Perfect. She’s like, I’m not doing that. So what was that? What was the shift? Like for you? Yeah, for me, it was it was good, because it allowed me to focus. Like I said, I Don’t multitask well, so it helped me. I mean, I didn’t have any kid experience before I had my own like none, no diapers, no nothing. So I was a full time student of being a mom for a while. And that was really good. I needed that.
And then yeah, kind of like your wife at this point. I’m still a stay at home mom, but my volunteer hours are significantly increased. Yeah, like make me work more, please. Yes. Yes. So were there things that you learned from teaching from the classroom that you applied in your home? Oh, definitely. Yeah. One thing about teaching and maybe this also is just part of my personality, but teaching is so very time oriented, you have to be extremely organized extremely planned right you have exactly 42 minutes before that bell rings and you have to get XY and Z accomplished in 42 minutes. And so like being a stay at home mom then it was the same thing. It was like okay, from now till the time we walk out of this house it will take me exactly 42 minutes to feed this baby. Change this diaper. Change my uncle. Right so I would be planning day to day week to week in this very like time oriented. It’s like bells were going off in my head.
Like ding ding if you don’t do this now you will not have time unless that’s interesting. That seems like it may have helped you to be yeah
I think so. I mean, sometimes I heard about it. Well, yeah, sometimes. I mean, I did it to my mom and sister shopping with them one time. I was like, if we do not leave this store right now, we will only be able to get to one more. And I have three on my list. And they looked at me like I was crazy. Yeah, I was like, Oh, maybe I should.
Yeah, that’s good. So tell people who are not a stay at home parents. What kind of stuff you do throughout the day? Oh, yeah. What is a typical task list look like for Sarah, Bert during the day? Um, so children and tell us ages of children. Okay. So right now my daughter is eight, my son is about to turn seven. Okay.
So they are not nearly as high maintenance. That’s the right race, as they want to worry about, but they’re not nearly as low maintenance as they’re about to be right. Yeah. I know, I look at you. And I’m like, oh, when will be the day when they just drive themselves somewhere? Yeah. It’s common. It’s common. So yeah, kids, like making sure they’re not just eating candy all day. And then you know, the chores that have to happen, and the laundry and the dishes and meals. And of course, COVID has made food. Every meal of every day is my responsibility. Getting everybody fed and
doing something productive and not fighting with one another. You know, it’s just, it’s all of those home things, which sometimes I feel like are small things. But my husband reminds me, he’s like, Listen, if you go I like, I’m just telling you, there’ll be somebody. I will need somebody that’s not me. raising these children. Yeah. So he he values it. Yeah. That’s good. That’s very important.
So you said that people have chores? The kids have chores? Are you like crazy about that? Or is it just kind of as it happens, you’re giving them assignments? Or do you have charts and graphs and all the stuff? I’ve tried the charts, but I have found that I want to be a little less intense, maybe moving forward with my life, and I have been in the past. So it’s usually like day to day. So we’ll be like, Okay, what are the things you guys want to do today? And here’s the things mom would like to have happen today. So that’s a good way to how do we work this out? When does you know? When are you going to get this done? That’s fine. You do this in the afternoon, but you need to do this in the morning or whatever. So I’m a little more you’re building very responsible children that way, giving them ownership and they get to make some decisions. I’m trying Yeah, that’s good.
So are there things
are there ways that you find yourself becoming your own parents? Like, are there things were like, Oh, I just became my mom. Yeah. Or, or are there things that you like, I swore I would never do that.
Yeah, I think they’re kind of maybe roll together. So I have amazing parents. First of all, I greatly admire and respect them. But one of the things that my mom always did that I thought I would never do is she has the looks, and her face just reveals all things she she might not be. So she might be saying one thing, and her face is saying the whole day entirely opposite thing. And you just go with the face, you know? Yeah. And I was like, she’s especially helpful with company. Yeah, it’s like, I will never do that. But I do it. I do it. And they calls me out on it every time. I’m just like, Oh, no. Yeah, it happens to the best of us. Yeah, yeah, that’s probably good. And if they were great parents, there’s probably some secret reason that that’s really great to do to use the face with the words, make it all work. Let’s go with that. All right, so let’s talk about your high capacity ministry role. You’ve had a number of roles along the years, you said probably the last 11 years or so you’ve been serving in certain roles. Most recently, you are on the preaching team, and really heading up our our content team. So why don’t you just give a little bit of a thumbnail? Same way you did just about the at home stuff of like, what are some what what does that look like for you? What are some of the stuff that you do? What how do you spend hours doing those things? Like what do those hours consist of that sort of thing? Yeah. So for writing content, I spend a lot of time
thinking about the reading plans that we put out for each sermon series. So we have a daily find your chair reading plan that goes out. And accompanying that is a life group guide that life group leaders have in their hands to help walk their groups on a weekly basis through those things. So a lot of time is spent either writing those or editing because I do lead a team of writers now, which is a wonderful thing to have a group of people who also love to write and are so creative, and you know, to get to hear their voices and see how they do things. So I love that. So a lot of time spent thinking through those things. And addition to that, like with the preaching team. So that’s like taking
Yeah, I’ve been writing the replay and things for a while then you invite me to the preaching team, which is humbling experience, but then it like just totally amps up the amount of research time and developing outlines and thinking through manuscripts and then recently helping you know you a little bit with research for Yeah, not just the things I’m going to be reading, I’m going to be reading things you’re going to be preaching to. And so yeah, lots of hours with a with my face on the screen or in a book or something, just poring over material. So the fun thing for me has been to see how you are just perfectly suited for that role. Like there’s something about you that loves reading and book worming. Yeah, and all this stuff. So, I mean, did that just has that always been a part of you? Or is that? I mean, do you feel like that’s something God gifted you with? Or is that just a lifelong passion? Or what do you think that comes from? Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it’s a little bit of both. I’ve always loved to read. But usually reading was the escape kind of thing. It was, I want my own time, I’m going to go off into my own world. That’s how I learned history and go on adventures and climb mountains, right is through books, and all of that. And then of course, in college, you’re made to read all these things you didn’t really want to read. So it kind of kills you for a little while. But then after college,
when I started leading a life group just had a rediscovery and a profound
realization of how much I love the scriptures, and just how amazing this living word actually is. And so that just reignited in me a passion for reading the word a lot, like voraciously, and I spent a long time just reading the Bible, like I didn’t read a whole lot of additional resources, materials, books that other people were writing, like, I knew I just needed to spend a lot of time in the Word. And then now, you know, branching out and reading all kinds of give me some books on theology, I might not understand every word. I might have to go look things up. But yeah, I do. I just, yeah, I love and I don’t mind being alone. And I guess you need a lot of alone time to do that kind of work. So yeah. And I’ve really appreciated you know, you mentioned how you’ve stepped in and kind of been doing some research for me too. And so we’ve figured out the whole rhythm of like, not figured out, but we’re working through how to share resources, you know how to make sure that the books I’m looking at, you get to look at and we can kind of be sharing a mind a little bit on on where these things go. You’ve even taken over, you know, leading and presenting at some of the meetings that I would have normally led in terms of working through an outline or working through the flow of a series and that sort of thing. So I really appreciated that. But I’m just trying to give people kind of a sense. Yeah, some of the ways we’ve, we’ve kind of shared back and forth, some of these responsibilities. Anything else that you can think of that we’ve that we’ve done over the years that I didn’t just mention, I feel like we’ve covered all the big ones. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So what’s fulfilling about this, too, you serving in this way? Yeah. Well, I think part of it is that it does, like scratch that itch for me, just reading and learning and, and getting, like deeper into the Word of God. But it also is, I will say to some people that like I need to use my grown up mind. Yeah, for something productive and purposeful. And I think that that’s true of all of us and
stay at home moms can try to find that out let in different ways. And a lot of them have I’ve got friends who do very creative things from their home as a stay at home mom. But yeah, for me, this is definitely that, like God has given me a gift. I need to use it and exercise it. It doesn’t have to be in just on a Sunday morning, nor does it have to be in a Monday through Friday job like, this is what he’s called me to and you guys have graciously welcomed invited me to do it. What’s really cool. And I that’s an interesting point that, you know, for you.
Your volunteer role has is a bit of a counterpoint to your real life role stay at home, just because it gives you other it gives you an outlet Yeah, that you don’t have there. It’s fascinating for me to think about other high capacity volunteers who maybe are more in the stream that they’re in for their work. And they just get to do it for the church to you know, kind of thing. And so yeah, I think both of those things exist. One of the things as I was going through the process of writing the book, which also you’ve been very helpful with that as well, but in working with an editor from afar, during COVID, it was interesting as that editor was reading my book, and I actually mentioned in one of the sentences the fact that you know that that high capacity volunteer could help with content or sermon research or whatever, obviously thinking of you as I was writing that sentence, and this editor saying, I had, I had never thought of that before. I had no idea that I could serve my church that way, because that’s what I’m good at. Yeah, editing and it’s like, but if my only options at church are
You know, serving in the youth ministry or right cleaning the Klan in the church every Tuesday morning or something like that, you know, it’s like, I’ll do that. Because yeah, I’m a servant leader, but, but like to be able to think, oh, man, I could use that gift for the church. And I don’t know, I just think there’s something about this content side of things that hopefully will open the eyes for other people to go, oh, man, I love that. And I could actually use that for the Kingdom. Yeah, for sure. And if I can just expand that for one second, I think for women, particularly, even those who have grown up in the church, like seeing themselves doing something at church beyond just hospitality or kids, is a hard it. It’s just a window that not many have looked through. And I love that people do hospitality and do kids, that isn’t, that doesn’t mean that at all. I just mean, like, as a woman, the idea that like, oh, I have a meaningful gift to contribute in a different area, the church, wow, that’s really amazing. And I’ll come back and say that as a man,
to have someone like you in the role that you’re in, I think, is a great counterbalance as well, for me, because you’ll often come, I’ll see your notes on what I’ve done. And you’re thinking about something from a different angle than me that I think brings a really great, you know, counterbalance. And I know that sometimes it’s like, and you’re on the preaching team, too. So you have your own voice. But the fact that we can collaborate from, you know, from two different perspectives, in terms of man thinking about this, and a woman thinking about this, I think is really good for the church. Yeah, yeah. It’s like God knew what He was doing when he made match is different.
All right, I want to get to two actionable principles here. This is one of the Mainstays that of this podcast is I want people who are maybe volunteering or thinking about volunteering in in a similar role. And again, I want to focus in on content creation, teaching, preaching kind of stuff
that we would give them takeaways that they could say, you know, I have something that I can I can do this with. So talk about let’s let’s talk about a couple of principles here that you have found helpful. As you’ve served in this role. Yeah. Yeah. So the first one is, you can’t give what you don’t have. And you have said this before. So I didn’t just make this entirely up on my own, but you can’t give what you don’t have. And so for me, you know, putting out a daily read plan, or I also do a podcast with some of our replants. You know, for the daily thing, it’s like, if there’s not actually something real that I’m, you know, that God’s doing in my life in my heart. What can I give to anyone else? So that finding my own chair every morning, and spending time with him? And getting inspired is pretty critical. Yeah. I mean, when you think about
biblical content with other people, whether that’s preaching, teaching, or writing,
it is a high and holy task
that the Bible seems to indicate we will be held at a higher standard for somehow. Yeah. Terrifying. Absolutely.
But it makes this what you just said all the more real, that it’s like, you better own it before you put it out there. I think, obviously, for a couple reasons. One is people can see through phoniness. Yeah. And read through it quickly. And so if it’s not real, if it’s not coming from there’s some there at some level, people will get that. Yeah.
But I think also just because of the responsibility that we have that
that that phrase, actually, you know, I know we’ve said that phrase before, where that phrase became real to me was actually in Mexico. Former Spanish teacher, I was on a mission trip. And we were building houses, but we’re also doing little VBS programs. And so every jobsite, the little kids from the neighborhood would come and just flock to us, obviously, because it was a big deal and stuff was happening in their little village. That was cool. And, you know, we do eventually do a VBS with those kids. But what we found is the first thing every morning that they wanted more than
our attention more than a house more than VBS was water. And we had a big, you know, one of those big orange, you know, coolers of water that we’d bring with us for the crew. But we found that most mornings we were giving it to the kids because they were thirsty. And it was hot and dry. And and there was a day that I’ll never forget that we went out on one of the sites and the person who’s responsible for the water forgot to fill the water. And the kids were all flocking. And we were many many miles away from home base. So it’s not like we could just go back and get the water. And it was like we had this moment of like we wanted so badly to give them it wasn’t that we didn’t want to give them water. We wanted to we were motivated to we had every reason to every desire
too, all of that stuff was there. We just couldn’t give what we didn’t have. Yeah. And that was the, you know, that phrase became so personal because it was like, that’s true of a lot of things. Yeah. But even if the motivation is right, even if you want to do the right thing, or say the right thing, or whatever, you can’t give what’s not already in there, right? And imagine, if you like, went around and pretended to pour water out of it, and acted as if it was the real thing wouldn’t have satisfied. Far from it. That’s, that’s great. So talk about so first actual principle is, you can’t give what you don’t have. And really your point to us is, make sure that you’re being filled up by God before you heard. Be a disciple. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Good. So what’s the second? The second is never stop learning. Talk about that. And again, I feel like you have taught me this. So Oh, you don’t have to keep giving credit. But I’ve learned so much. So these are the things that I tell other people and even the people on my writing team, but how do you do that? Um, well, starting with the Bible, of course, I mentioned before that like, like having an an appetite, a hunger, a thirst, you know, the Bible uses those words, for like, it’s like, Honey, it’s sweeter than honey. So starting there, like letting that be the first source of, you know, your search for truth and knowledge and understanding wisdom, all of those things. But then expanding out from that, I mean, oh, my goodness, the time that we live in, like, we’ll have to wait for a scroll for some runner from the next city to bring a scroll to us to read, right? Like, it’s, it’s right there. And it’s accessible. And so so much of my time could be spent
on you know, Instagram, or Facebook or reading the news. Or I can choose to dive into other content. So, I mean, there’s so many good podcasts out there. I think the Bible project their favorites. Yeah, so much good Bible learning to be had on there. You know, reading books, reading content, just never stopped learning and, and that extends to like reading things from other Opposing Viewpoints, which can be hard. Yeah.
It can be really hard. I don’t know if it’s because I was raised in the church and like, one kind of thought pattern. And so now like reading some, I’m just, I feel myself get all like, ah, but um, you know, just asking for discernment, wisdom from God of, yeah. What is your truth? Rather than any man being right? You know, letting the Holy Spirit guide is the truth. But I really saw you do this doesn’t have to do with content. But a year ago or so, you became a pastor at Grace? And, you know, our church went went through a process with that whole idea. Yeah. Women becoming pastors because we, in our, whatever, 125 year old history, we had never done that before. Yeah. And so what was cool for me is that as as I was really digging into that, and studying it in our elders were and leaders were that were, you know, had decision rights on that.
I found out along the way, you really were to studying every viewpoint and looking, you know, and it just reminded me what a what a great learner you are, and really trying to dig into something even if it’s controversial, even if you know, there are definitely strong, opposing viewpoints to things that you wanted to soak it all in so that you could come to your own kind of sense of center about Yeah, about that issue, which is really cool. Yeah. When I want to weigh them against biblical truth of my are seeing in the scriptures, right. So like, there’s so much content out there. And the danger would be then that we take that as gospel truth rather than the Word of God. But yeah, it’s really good. So you’ve mentioned a couple things as we’ve gone here that I want to make sure people know where to find if they want to find them. So you talked about our read plan, where we will find the read plan that you and your team write every day. Yeah, so who is grace.com/read? Read? You talked about your podcast that you do from time to time? What’s the name of that? Where can people find it? It’s called My chair. And if you search who is grace on Apple or Spotify, you will find other podcasts from Grace turret, but my chair will also be listed there. Right? And is there something I actually don’t know the answer to this? And I’m not sure if you do either. Is there something people search for when they go on YouVersion? To find grace, grace, okay. So if they go there and search, who is grace, they can find some of our devotionals and things that your team is writing as well. Yep. So that’s how you can catch up with Sarah, her bio is highlighted in my book, and want to just thank you so much for being you and for being such an integral part of what God’s doing here at Grace, for stepping up and using your gifts in a profound way that’s affected the church. So thanks for that. I have some rapid fire questions. Oh, can we do this at the end? Real quick? Yeah, okay. Wow, latest book that you’ve read. One? Yeah, I know. You got it. I know you got a whole shelf. But what’s Yeah, give me give me one or two. Um, the last one that I just finished is called come fly the world. It was it’s a nonfiction book about the stewardesses of pan-am from the start of that era.
Mine is interesting. That’s cool. Who’s the person the Bible you relate to the most? Oh, I’m gonna say the woman at the well. And not because her life story in mind necessarily like a lineup, but yeah, wow, there’s things. Yeah. No. But I think Jesus surprised her. And I’m also surprised by Jesus just that like, even for me that like His living water is enough. Like, I think she felt disqualified from God’s kingdom. Like she wasn’t enough. She didn’t live up to whatever standard and I have this inner insecurity that makes me feel like I’m not enough. I don’t give up and he’s enough so that Yeah. What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Don’t eat after dinner?
I mean, we eat dinner at five o’clock. Oh, and the world is gonna make it so bad time without some for some of you including me. That’s good advice. What else? Are you supposed to eat ice cream? What’s your favorite thing to do on a date night?
Eat ice cream.
Definitely food really.
I would eat really good food that I didn’t have to make and don’t have to clean up. Nice. I love it.
What’s the most beautiful site you’ve ever seen? Oh, so
my dad recently had some major surgery and my mom I picked her up from the hospital right after surgery. And when she got the call that he like, was out of recovery and feeling good. She literally got out of my car and and danced in the grass and the park where we were parked. And I just, she loves them so much. And I love that. Wow. Yeah. That’s incredible. Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your story with us guys. If you found this helpful, obviously, please like and share and comment. Wherever you’re listening to this podcast. That would be great. And hopefully we’ll see. Hear you be with you next time. Thanks, sir. Yep,