There is something deeply moving about giving ourselves away for the good of others.
When we give of our time and talent in any way to encourage and build others in their faith, or emerging faith, we begin to activate the servant-heart of Jesus within ourselves.
When we serve others, we add value and potentially change a life. We bring a cool cup of water in the name of Jesus.
There is no right or wrong, or greater or lesser, in serving. If the desire of your heart is to be helpful, serving pleases God and makes a difference.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re passionate about opening doors for people with a friendly smile or planting a new church. God doesn’t rank the love in your heart for others. Instead, he multiplies it for the advancement of his Kingdom.
The big idea is that we all work together in a unified effort to advance the purpose of God.
You can serve in an organized ministry in your church or do something uniquely different, representing your church.
For example, I met a cool guy who started a ministry in a local prison. His church didn’t have a “prison ministry” but cheered him on to go for it on his own. He recruited other volunteers, and they are making a difference! The church didn’t need to “own” it; he did!
No church should try to do every possible ministry. That’s neither wise nor practical. But equally so, your church is teaching you, encouraging you, and wants to help you grow in your faith. You can take all that and serve others where you live and work!
Take all you learn at church out into your community and make a difference.
There are also many opportunities to serve others directly connected with your church.
Don’t ever think that there is no need for more people to serve just because it seems like everything is working well.
The truth is, it’s not about the church’s need for volunteers; it’s about engaging the purpose and using spiritual gifts God placed inside you.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.Ephesians 4:11-13
- Jesus commissioned apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip people for ministry, not do all the ministry. (verse 11)
- We are all designed by God for “works of service.” (verse 12)
- So the body of Christ may be built up. (verse 13)
- Until we reach unity in the faith and become mature (verse 13)
5 Questions About Your Important Part in God’s Purpose
1) What taps into your passion?
In order to live a greater and more meaningful life, it is necessary to tap into a passion that compels you to serve others.
For many years my wife Patti volunteered serving coffee, then gave leadership to volunteers who served coffee from a coffee cart and eventually ran the coffee shop at the church. This included everything from cleaning equipment to training volunteers.
It wasn’t because the church needed her to do that, but because she loved it!
Maybe your heart is all about kids or teens, or perhaps the cool tech teams that make so much of the communication work. Maybe you love helping those who are broken and hurting.
What’s your burden? What’s your passion? What brings you joy? God put that in you in great part to serve others. How can you use that for the purposes of God?
2) What uses your gifts?
It’s an inspiring thought to realize that the creator of the universe, the Great I AM, designed each of us to be in a divine partnership with Him in serving His purpose by loving and serving others.
That still blows my mind. God doesn’t need me, but He chooses me.
When we serve others, we unleash the spiritual gifts and God-designed passions within us.
What are your spiritual gifts, and how do you use them to partner in the purpose and plan of God?
3) What helps the purpose of the church move forward?
The reason that God places so much emphasis on unity within the church is that the church is far more powerful and effective when we all work together according to a prayer-based plan.
One of my favorite of many examples at 12Stone Church was a commitment to help improve the spiritual and physical well-being of the poor, restoring their dignity, purpose, and freedom in developing countries.
The tangible aspect was to dig wells for freshwater. Clean water allowed people freedom from walking for hours a day to collect contaminated water, making room for education, economic development, and church advancement.
Very few people could make that happen for even just one well on their own, but together we did more than 59 wells or access points to freshwater, ultimately affecting more than 160,000 people. And more than 600 of our 12Stone family traveled to one of these countries to help.
That’s the power of purpose and serving together!
How does your serving connect to the big picture?
4) What serves people well?
As you begin to connect your passion, gifts, and unified purpose together, you can start to see how to serve people well.
When it comes to effective ministry, organization is needed, and unity is a must. Still, ultimately, it’s about your heart connecting with the heart of another to make a difference in their life by serving them well.
One of my favorite quotes is:
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.Frederick Buechner
It takes both.
Your genuine passion plus another’s deep need is the heart of life-changing ministry.
5) How does it lift up the name of Jesus?
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”John 13:34-35
We are to take the love Jesus has for us that we share with each other to those who do not yet know and follow Him.
We love by serving, and by serving, we lift up the name of Jesus when we do it in His name. Jesus modeled that all the way to the Cross.
Serving is sacrificial but always worth it.