SOS: Denny and Kay NetlandStories of Service: Denny and Kay Netland
Denny and Kay Netland have been very active members at Westwood for many years. Some of their activities have included A Cappella choir, Stewardship, Families Moving Forward, Properties, and the Westwood foundation. Kay has even been referred to as the “Lefse Queen” for her work organizing the lefse making for the annual Holiday Fair. While we could have asked for their “story of service” for any of these activities, the Netland’s have also been leaders in our small group ministry for the last six years. Here is the story of their participation in this ministry through leadership in our Wine Tasting Bible Study.
1) How did we get involved with leading a small group?
We have both often taken the lead in various activities in the past so it was really the wine tasting theme that motivated us to lead this particular small group. The idea of a wine tasting theme was incubated from discussions with close friends who had a similar interest. We decided to give it a try but began with a low profile not being sure how the church would react. However, in a couple of years interest quickly grew and additional groups were spun off and formed. We intentionally decided not to be an exclusive group and encouraged members to start their own groups of the same theme. Each year the sign-up sheet was begun with a clean slate so new people had a chance to join.
2) What does an evening look like and how did you decide the format?
We begin the evening with the wine tasting with everyone seated around our dining room table. A volunteer opens with prayer. Denny presents four related wines for tasting. Each person has four glasses so each wine can be directly compared. We rotate responsibility for bringing appetizers which are selected to match with the wines. The wine tasting is meant to be an educational event so Denny provides handouts that include information on each wine, the quality classification systems of each country, published taste ratings on each wine, wine and food matching information, etc. The format was pretty much Denny’s invention with ideas taken from wine tastings done by professionals. Wine is one of Denny’s hobbies and he had a passion for sharing his knowledge with others.
The second hour is spent discussing the lesson. We rotate the responsibility of being the lesson facilitator. However, often discussion regarding the lesson will begin between people while still tasting wine. Discussion seems to flow very freely following the fellowship time with wine tasting and everyone feels comfortable in contributing their ideas and interpretations. We always close with some time for people to share concerns and prayer items they have.
3) What has been the best part of leading this small group for the last 6 years?
Kay and I have now been doing the wine tasting Bible study for 6 years. It has had many rewards. Foremost has been the many new friends and close relationships we have established. It has also been very rewarding to see the group become a support group for each of the members as they experience difficulties in their lives.
4) How has leading/participating in this ministry affected your faith life?
Kay: Looking at the Bible in greater depth has been wonderful. Our discussions are fabulous! We are inspired by others in our group (young and old), who enhance our faith by their words and actions.
Denny: I have been most affected by experiencing God’s work first hand and seeing how group members (including past members) are so close knit and have become such a support group for each other.
Many thanks to Denny and Kay and all the leaders in this important ministry area. If you’d like more information about participating in this or another monthly small group please contact Pastor Jason.