In part one, I talked about the issue of low church attendance that has been blamed on COVID and suggested that instead of blaming our circumstances, we should look at our hearts and the issue of complacency. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here. Part two looked at one way to fight complacency , which is showing up. You can read it here. This last post looks at a second way to fight complacency – serve.
Here is where I lose some of you. Some of you are showing up. You worship on Sunday, you go to class on Wednesday, you attend the extra bible studies and events, and you’re an active part of a small group. You are getting everything you can out of church, and the church serves you well. But the church does not solely exist to meet your needs. If you are attending church but constantly assessing what you are receiving, what you get out of the lessons, and how you are being served, then you are missing the point. The church exists to meet the needs of the congregation as a whole, it exists to promote community with other believers, and it exists to give you opportunities to serve like Jesus did. James 2:26 says “faith without works is dead.” Please do not misunderstand what I am getting at. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) and there is no amount of good works in the world that we can do to buy our way into heaven. However, we know that we are to imitate Christ’s love for others (Eph. 5:1-2) and we know that if we are part of the body of Christ then we have a role to fill (1 Cor. 12:12-26).
We know that Jesus came to serve. Not only did he show this through his teaching, many miracles, and washing feet, but he tells us this is why he came to earth (Mark 10:45). If we are supposed to be imitators of Christ, then it should come to no surprise to us that we should be serving others. If you are not sure how to serve, I encourage you to take a spiritual gifts inventory. There are several free versions you can find on the internet, I like this one www.gifts.churchgrowth.org (not an ad). Having a better understanding of the gifts God has given you can direct you towards service that is beneficial to the church and enjoyable for you.
With that being said, sometimes you just have to do something you don’t really like. I doubt the lady who cleans our church really enjoys scrubbing toilets, but she is available and able to serve in that way, so she does. Maybe you don’t enjoy public speaking, but you have a lot of wisdom to impart. Maybe you don’t enjoy missing a bible study or class, but you’re great at teaching children. Even if you are doing something you don’t enjoy, there can be excitement and satisfaction in doing God’s will. And maybe if you chase after God’s will and obediently serve His church, He will put in you an affection for the places and people He has put in your life for you to serve.
I think a lot of us are hesitant to serve because we aren’t sure what we have to offer is valuable.
“And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body… The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,”
1 Corinthians 12:16, 21-22
Let me tell you about Mrs. Stella. Stella was a do-er. She was an active member of the church, she helped take care of her grandchildren, and she wouldn’t hesitate to help others. When Stella got cancer, she became weaker and wasn’t able to serve in the ways she use to. But Stella could pray. Even when she was so sick and tired that she couldn’t physically come to church, she would faithfully pray for our church leaders and members, most of them by name. And when she prayed, I don’t think there was a soul in that church who didn’t feel it. If one woman could make such a difference by uttering prayers that were never heard by anyone else other than God, then you can’t convince me that every member of the church doesn’t have some role to fill.
And don’t think if you belong to a larger congregation that you are off the hook. If you’re wondering if you are even needed, go talk to someone who you regularly see serving. Chances are they could use a break (even if they love the way they serve). Have you ever heard of Price’s Law? Price’s Law says that half of a company’s work is done by the square root of the number of employees. So, in a congregation of 400, twenty people would be responsible for half of the workload. I would venture to say that in a church where members don’t clock in or receive a paycheck for their service, that number is actually less. Just because something is getting done, doesn’t mean it is getting done in the most effective way. In a group of 400 there is no reason why 20 people need to take on the brunt of the work. Do not let yourself be content with your church surviving by having only its basic needs met. Be diligent to serve and find ways to help your church thrive so that more people would come to know Jesus.