Sundays at 9:00 and 10:45 a.m.

Sunday smiles and handshakes

Long before the first person enters the door to worship on a Sunday morning at Stones Crossing Church, Dave Steenbarger (pictured left in photo) is already there.

He can usually be found sitting on a couch in the lobby, a piece of paper in his hands.

On that paper is the list of men, women, and children who have an upcoming birthday or a couple celebrating a wedding anniversary. He studies that sheet of paper so he’s ready to wish you “happy birthday!” or “happy anniversary!” with a smile when he sees you on Sunday morning.

And if you don’t see Dave the week leading up to your birthday or anniversary, expect an email from him in your inbox.

If he’s not spending time memorizing important dates, he’s studying pictures of new members (provided by those new members) so he can memorize names with new faces.

“I live for Sunday mornings to greet people,” said Dave. “God has given me a desire to greet people when they come through the door.”

Dave not only loves the people of Stones. He loves the church itself, and he’s been around from the very beginning—back when the church was young, small, and meeting for Bible study in a Greenwood apartment complex.

In the 25+ years that Dave has been a part of Stones, he’s served in various ways. Besides, greeting others nearly every Sunday morning, he is on the council of elders and served actively as an elder for 12 years. He helps lead the men’s prayer group, which meets every Saturday morning at 7:00 to pray for the church, city, nation, and world. Dave is also involved in the men’s ministry at Stones, as he is one of the leaders who facilitates discussion during the men’s study held in the spring and fall.

Dave and his wife, Donna, who have been married 57 years, have done premarital counseling with younger couples through the years and currently co-lead a D-group at Stones. Dave also mentors a few men, of all ages, in the church. He values being able to disciple younger guys as he has time, whether he meets with someone one-on-one or interacts with other men by coaching an area softball team.

“I like to talk about Jesus and give wise counsel, finding out where they are spiritually,” said Dave. “I often give advice on being a husband.”

While Dave has offered up biblical counsel and friendship to so many and seen God do some might work in peoples’ lives, he also recalls that some folks still choose to engage in poor decisions.

“I’ve seen the hard times, like how unrepentant, hardened hearts lead to consequences and broken relationship,” said Dave.

Through it all, Dave stays encouraged by regular Bible reading and prayer time.

“I get my hope, trust, and faith from His Word,” said Dave. “I’m also in constant prayer, even if when I’m asking God why He did something that I don’t understand. I try to stay humble, which is continual. I’m seeking the Lord more today than I ever have been. He’s more real to me, and I’m learning more.”

Dave’s also praying for people regularly. He currently has a prayer list and prays for more than 40 people a week.

As long as he is able, Dave will continue to provide smiles and encouragement to every person he can on Sunday mornings at Stones. He noted that his favorite person in the Bible is Barnabas. Known as the “son of encouragement,” Barnabas is mentioned several times in the New Testament.

“Barnabas was an encourager and because he did that, many came to faith,” said Dave.

“Everyone who comes through [the door at Stones] has an issue on their heart, and I can greet them with a pleasant smile,” said Dave. “I get more out of it than I give out. A kind word doesn’t cost you anything, but it means so much to the person receiving it.”

As long as he is able, Dave will continue to pass out handshakes and smiles, prayers and anniversary and birthday greetings each week at Stones.
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1 Comment

Ajay - March 18th, 2023 at 6:11am

This post is a lighthearted reflection on the author's recent experiences attending church and interacting with the community. While engaging and humorous, it does not provide any specific information or ideas related to birthdays.