Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23 24
We are all called to serve, and the church is normally where we start to do it. For the health of everyone we need to find out where God wants us to be, and then be faithful in ministering to Him there.
Working it out:
Having turned our backs to the world, and offered ourselves to God there are three things we can do to help find where we should be
1. Evaluate our strengths.
- Explore the possibilities – it’s easy to stick with what we think we are ‘good at’. Be open to other areas.
- Experiment with as many gifts/ministries as possible – it is a good idea to be realistic though. For instance, if I can’t play an instrument or sing then maybe the worship group isn’t an option at this point.
- Examine my feelings – am I feeling OK about what I’m doing even if I didn’t expect to. If we do what God requires, often that is enough to fullfill us.
- Evaluate my effectiveness – am I doing a good job? For instance an evangelist who isn’t seeing people getting saved isn’t really an evangelist.
- Expect confirmation from the church – at some point it becomes clear to the leaders and other church members that you have found your place, and are given further opportunities in that area.
LEADERS NOTE: This process can be one of the most demanding for leaders. If we don’t allow people to maybe make a mess (within reason!), then we can run the risk of the church missing out on significant blessing from God.
2. Cooperate with others
- Be a team player – 1 Corinthians 12:14-26
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
- Allow others to join in – it’s the best way to learn and to get to know each other.
- Ask for help when needed – we can’t possibly know all we need to from the start. It’s just plain smart to get help when we need it.
3. Activate our gifting
Assess which particular gifts God has given to you, and start to use them in appropriate places. We should seek permission to do this, but if we don’t talk to a church leader, they may not know that we want to serve. Few leaders turn away someone who wants to simply serve in their church without any agendas.
Are there any new ministries that we could be involved in setting up? Write down as many details as possible and talk to the Pastor or small-group leader.
Thinking it through:
Becoming a Christian is all about giving up our rights. As the slave in Jesus’ parable of the master and the slave (Luke 17:7 10) we are called to be servants of The Master, and our job will only be finished when we are with Him in heaven. Entrance into the Christian life comes by death, a dying to self. The invitation is not to come to Jesus to be fulfilled, but rather come and die!
With this death comes new Life in Christ and we are given the opportunity to either waste this Life, spend it or invest it. Fulfilment will only come for us as Christians if we are obedient and do the will of the Father. In the Catholic service, “the stations of the cross” prayers are said after meditation on the events of Jesus’ journey to the cross. One of the repeated prayers in this declares love for Jesus and then finishes with the phrase “and then do with me what you will”. It’s a costly prayer to pray. Our Life is truly to be one of service and surrender.
Being part of the church not only equips us for works of service but also allows us a place to operate these works. One of the key things we need to understand is what God has for us to do. This will be made up of roles all Christians are called to be faithful in, as well as specific roles which we have been given to do. We are to operate as a body, in concert with each another whilst performing different functions.
© Paul Wood