A Gift of Grace Through Serving


I never realized how off the norm my start to ministry and serving was until my first life group. As we got to know one another, different people would tell varying versions of a similar story. They had a desire for a church home. They searched for a place they felt comfortable, where they valued the teaching and worship. Once they settled in, they looked for ways to get connected. Usually to people first. And maybe eventually to serving.

My journey took me in the complete opposite order.

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. ... But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners.” - 1 Timothy 1:12, 16

In 2008, I graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Audio Production; no professional jobs in my field in sight, and no semblance of direction of where I wanted to be going in life. During my time away at college, my mother had found community at Orchard Hill. But I decided very quickly upon returning home that it wasn’t the place for me.

The next three years were a roller-coaster ride of health scares, personal struggles and a job without much meaning. It was difficult to find who I was as a new “adult” without a real purpose and drive. One day, my mom suggested I talk to a friend of hers from Orchard Hill about how I could possibly network more and get my resume out there. She promised it wouldn’t be anything “churchy”, as I was still very skeptical.

That meeting changed my life.

Just being in the building and getting introduced to various people, my production background was revealed, and it was made known that I HAD to go meet the guys on the Tech Team. After seeing the control room and booth, a little spark lit… Sure, I could help them out a bit if it meant I got to play around with some cool gear again.

Sometimes when we look back at moments in our lives, it’s almost like we can hear God laughing and saying, “Just you wait and see where I lead you”. Very quickly, I went from grumbling, drag along to active volunteer. I absorbed everything I could; wanted to be at the church as much as I could. The job that gave me no passion allowed me the flexibility to explore set building projects, Christmas Eve services, tech conferences and more. My “this is less boring” time commitment turned into a sense of purpose for my time, exposure to God’s word and His work in our lives, and a community of people that became like family.

So…. What am I getting at? You could look at my story and say, “Oh… that’s a girl who had a background in production and she just got connected with ‘her people’.” But it’s so much more than that…

This opportunity to serve…. To be a part of something bigger than myself, led me down a road towards a faith I had lost, a family I craved, and a grace that only God could provide. Each week I walked into the worship center, I became a part of a bigger group of people, both tech and worship volunteers, whose goal it was to display excellence, while being invisible at the same time. Always throwing the light on a God who deserved our worship.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body, ... Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” - 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

It was in that booth I found my own sense of worship again. For me, “becoming invisible” made it possible to really be free and find a connection to God in what I was doing.

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” – Psalm 95:1

If you find yourself looking for a new kind of way to engage with a heart of worship, consider how “taking yourself out of the equation” could make a difference and investigate how you can serve others.

Sara V.jpg

Sara began volunteering with the Worship Arts Team in 2011 by running sound for weekend services. She joined the staff full-time in 2013 as a member of the Administrative Team and became a full time member of the Production Team in 2015.  She currently produces the services in the worship center, leads the Tech Team volunteers, and is the voice of the radio program “Orchard Hill Today”.

Sara has a B.S. degree in Audio Production from Ithaca College and a background in marketing & communications.

Sara currently resides in Avalon.