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Do This in Remembrance

Do This in Remembrance
Left to right: Danny Anderson, Brad Bothun and Charlie Kopp prepare hundreds of servings for the Lord's Supper every week.

It isn’t hard to put pieces of bread into cups. It isn’t hard to pass a tray up and down the sanctuary rows. But it takes commitment to show up and do it every single week.

Faith Bible Church’s server team keeps showing up so that everyone who comes to the Sunday gathering may easily partake in the Lord’s Supper together.

‘This is how we remember’

Charlie Kopp has been preparing and serving the Lord’s Supper as long as Faith Bible Church has existed. “When we first started, we had to stomp the grapes to get the juice,” he jokes.

Charlie remembers that back in the early days, the elders would serve the Lord’s Supper to people who came forward from their seats. Like the deacons appointed in Acts 6, he and Jim Gilchrist took over the responsibility to free up the elders to concentrate on other aspects of ministry.

For many years, communion was taken once a month. Only a few years ago did the elders decide to incorporate it into services every Sunday. At first, it was tough for Charlie to get on board with quadrupling the amount of preparation needed.

“I had to get my heart right, to ‘Hey, we’re serving the Lord, and this is how we remember what He did for us,’ and just got used to it.”

A few years ago, Charlie and Jim were convicted that they needed to be training up younger people to serve in the future. They prayed for the right people to get involved. Mike Bothun and his son Brad stepped up to help prepare and serve communion.

“I was in middle school when we started doing it, I think,” says Brad. He is 25 now and has taken the primary responsibility of scheduling servers from week to week to pass out the meal.

“I like generations, younger and older, working together to help,” he says. “It’s been cool to watch people meet that need, how Jesus changes people’s hearts to see that’s sacrificing to help someone.”

The team was particularly stretched to cover three services under Covid restrictions in 2020, when they also handed out servings individually. That was when Brad took on more responsibility to coordinate the team. He learned to take advantage of Church Center’s online tools to get volunteer servers signed up for each service.

Brad’s strength is in math. He counts attendees at each service and charts trends in the numbers to make sure they’re prepared for everyone to be served every week. “We want everyone to have that chance to have a reminder of Jesus and His sacrifice,” he says.

“Brad’s had some good ideas that I didn’t think about,” Charlie says. “At first it was hard for me, after doing it all these years: ‘This is how we did it.’ And Brad had new ideas, and we try it and hey, that’s a cool idea.”

What it takes to take communion

Whether it’s finding enough certified gluten-free grape juice or keeping the trays clean, there are plenty of practical considerations in preparing the spiritually significant meal. One change from the past decade was the idea of “double cupping,” which Mike saw at another church and proposed trying at Faith. Putting the bread in one cup and then adding another cup on top for juice makes it possible to do most of the preparation days before serving.

Brad Bothun, Charlie Kopp, and Danny Anderson (left to right) quietly work to prepare the trays.

Brad, Charlie, and Danny Anderson usually prepare the trays with bread on Monday morning for the coming Sunday. Then they arrive by 7:15 am on Sundays to add the juice and confirm with the volunteers who pass the trays.

Double cupping also makes it quicker to pass the trays, though Charlie still occasionally sees someone apparently struggling to choose one among 32 equal cups in a tray (plus a few gluten-free portions).

People occasionally ask why the cups aren’t filled fuller. Charlie explains, “We usually do it half full because you get someone with an unsteady hand as you’re passing it down the row, and we’ve seen where little kids want to help pass it down and you see the tray shaking like an earthquake. And so some of them come back and it looks like they were in a battle.”

A simple tool that has made the servers’ lives easier is a pushbutton device that fills each tiny cup without extra dripping or splashing. That might seem like a small thing, until you consider the hundreds of cups that need to be filled before each service. Before, the cups needed to be set out, filled, and then moved into the trays so that they wouldn’t spill on the trays. Now, the servers can put the cups into the trays and quickly fill them there.

The pushbutton filler makes it possible to cleanly fill the cups in the trays.

Brad and Charlie warn servers not to stack full trays more than four high, because the weight can compress the double cups together so that they’re tough to separate. Plus, they want to minimize the risk of accidentally dropping the stack, which Charlie remembers happening once to one of the servers.

Most importantly, they want the whole body welcomed to the table for the “family meal.” Servers also bring bread and juice out to the foyer and the parent/child area for those who needed to step out during the service.

Committed to the gathering

While the Lord’s Supper is the biggest of Charlie and Brad’s responsibilities, they also facilitate the Sunday gathering in other ways. Regular attenders have probably seen Charlie finding seats for people, helping families find each other after arriving separately, or connecting nursery workers or children to parents in the service.

He recalls asking one lost child what his father looked like. The answer, in its entirety, was “He’s wearing a pair of cowboy boots.” Even with such a slim description, they did find him.

Charlie and Brad also head up the collection of the offering and are usually the two people who make sure it gets to its designated safe place. It’s safer to have fewer people know the details, so they’re the ones to do it week after week. They also handle the Care Fund collection boxes every month and make sure the entryways are ready on Sundays with copies of Faith Weekly.

Charlie and Brad can’t recall a Sunday without at least one of them, or Mike, showing up early to fill the juice, direct the servers, and secure the offering. They would welcome more volunteers, whether in the rotation of servers or to help with their other tasks. Gaining one or two trustworthy people ready for a regular commitment might make it so they don’t have to serve both services every Sunday.

Charlie says while getting more volunteers would be helpful, he would probably still show up for duty every week. “I just get a joy out of serving. I mean, after 30 years, I look forward to it.”

Contact info@fbchurch.org if you’d like to volunteer on the server team.

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