As we continue to see new faces show up and some of the new faces become familiar faces over time, I believe a question arises about finding one’s place in the new-to-them congregation. With as many personalities as there are people, there is not one completely effective method for bringing someone into a family of faith in which he gets to live out his gifts. Often, there are willing people who are passionate about a certain area of service, but because of a lack of information on the part of the church, they may never plug into a place that is fulfilling to them.
One problem that plagues several small churches (in my limited experience) is that much of the volunteer resources that are actually used are reactive in nature. This means that needs crop up as they do in any church and well-meaning folks make a desperate plea to fill the void with any willing, able body. Then, once a person fills a need, they either become perpetually attached to that job or they are asked first anytime another problem arises because they said yes.
What can we do to be a church whose people are involved and serving ways that ignite their spirit, fulfill their passions, and fill them with joy as they serve? Well, this is the fun part. I believe that God created creativity. Since creativity is a God-given gift, then we get to enjoy the unique way God has put us together, gifted us, and combined those gifts to form what we call, “the local church.”
First, I want you to understand my philosophy about people serving in the church. To understand my philosophy, first be aware of these premises. The church is God’s bride and is therefore His to guide and direct. The church is much more than the building that we come together to worship within. God has created the bride, this living organism, made up of thousands upon thousands of uniquely created people. God has called His people to serve Him. To the church, God has given the mission of spreading the message of hope in Jesus (evangelism). To the church, He’s given the responsibility of training believers to follow God (aka. discipleship) which includes the responsibility of producing new disciples
Based on these beliefs, my philosophy of service or involvement is this: we start by understanding how God has uniquely crafted us and given us gifts of His Spirit and then ask the question of how God wants us to put these into action. So, ask yourself the question, “what has God made me passionate about?” “What is it that I just can’t help but be excited about? Does the idea of training the next generation fire you up? Does being a support structure for missionaries in tough places make you feel a sense of significance? Do you get thrilled about the idea of feeding hundreds of people? Are you concerned about feeding the hungry? Does the idea of abortion make you desperately sad, and does that drive you to want to do something? Soul searching to know who you are and what is important to you as a person and, more importantly, as a child of God is vital to finding your place within the body.
It’s okay to think outside the box. Just because there is no current ministry going on for something that you are passionate about within the context of our church does not mean that one isn’t available for you to do. Perhaps, you might be the one to kick-start a new ministry within the church. It just might take a little bit of time, research, communication and effort to get going. But it is possible.
There are a lot of good things out there that we as Christians can and should do, but no one of us can do all of them. We would probably go crazy trying to keep up, and we’d be no good at any one of them because we’d be so stressed out. So, go ahead, dream a little. Explore your own make-up. I’ll spend some more time on this topic next time. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to ask if you want to get more involved.
Justin began serving as the pastor at Faith in February of 2013. He is passionate about people having the opportunity to hear the good news about eternal life through Jesus Christ.