This last July, Pastor of Evangelism, Bert Suluvale spearheaded a new mid-week meeting called Wednesdays at the Well. I sat down with he and his wife Leigh to find out more about the heart behind this ministry.
Originally, Bert and Darin, our pastor of Teaching and Mission, brainstormed the idea. “After teaching Jesus 101 there were so many people asking, ‘When is the next Wednesday night Bible study?’” Bert says. “For Darin and I, this idea flowed naturally from that.” So they decided to create a consistent Wednesday night meeting for people of all ages to come and regroup, find fellowship, and receive teaching.
Leigh was excited to enter into this new opportunity, “I love Bert’s teaching, first of all. So that was exciting, but personally, I needed a place to plug in. I mean, exactly what it’s called, Wednesdays at the Well. I needed that mid-week drink.”
In each meeting there’s a time of fellowship, worship, and prayer to accompany a study of the Bible. I asked them, “Why Wednesday nights?” and Bert explained that on Sundays we come in the mornings to fellowship and worship, but by the middle of the week, there’s a need to connect in community again. He says, “The idea is that you’re on a journey from one Sunday to the next. So stop by the well. From point A to point B there’s somewhere you can come.”
They also wanted to capitalize on the Wednesday activities that already exist. So partnering with our youth programs to provide a place for parents to plug in and be ministered to was part of the goal as well. Bert told me how a couple parents came because their kids were participating in KidU. They don’t attend church at Arbor Road, but told him that since their church doesn’t offer a mid-week study they thought they’d try ours. The couple has been attending ever since. “This is the mentality of all the leadership at our church: our resources belong to God,” Bert says. “So absolutely come here and hang out with us.”
I asked them where they see God leading this ministry and Bert explained that the things they have in place – worship, prayer time, Bible study – are a good place to start, but he’s open to change. “Some of the discussions we’ve had in the past about this lead the ministry into a direction that I’m not as strong in, and that is why I love having Leigh as a partner in ministry.” Leigh finds herself asking the Lord to show her how her own gifts best complement Bert’s. “When I came to California it was with the intention of doing ministry. So when I married someone already in ministry it was beautiful.” Leigh has been able to use her gifts to share her testimony, pray with people, and sing in worship. Bert has been able to use his gifts of teaching to share God’s word each week and also sings in worship. And they desire that kind of freedom in the group as a whole. “We’ve all been in college, you know,” Bert says. “When you miss a couple of sessions you feel like quitting your class. I want to remove that feeling from our ministry. What I would love to see is an environment where you don’t feel like you miss out if you can’t attend one week. You just join in whenever you want.” They also want to see people set free not only from the tension and pressure of the week, but also in the gifts that God has given them. One of the areas they’d like to see change is in worship. Though they both sing, neither of them play instruments and they would love for someone step up who has a heart to lead worship.
As this ministry continues to grow, it is clear that both Bert and Leigh are prayerfully considering where God is leading. They’re answering the call that He has put on their hearts to help people find freedom in the middle of the week. So whether it’s through worship, prayer, fellowship, or even just having a place to use your gifts for the Lord, come take a drink from the well on Wednesday nights.
Written by: Hannah Hagen