Membership Update - Using My Gifts to Serve (July 2010)

Posted by Randy | Labels: , , , , , , , , , | Posted On Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Two months ago I began a Membership Series for our Gateway members (and anyone else) that is intended to help us grow and become more and more like Jesus Christ. I'm using a tool that we at Gateway call the GUIDE (which is a part of our Membership Covenant). It's an acronym that both describes what a "fully devoted follower of Christ" looks like, and at the same time lists biblical disciplines and practices that God has given us to guide us in our spiritual journey. You can read more about the GUIDE in my May Update.

This month I turn to the "U" of GUIDE, which stands for: "Using My Spiritual Gifts to Serve." We understand this to mean that "I will seek opportunities to serve my church family utilizing my gifts, talents, and time."

The reason we serve begins with Jesus himself, who said: “‘For even the Son of Man (a title Jesus used for himself) came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:28 NLT2) Jesus came to serve, and those who follow him do likewise. Certainly, obedience is a big part of following Jesus. But we also follow (and serve) out of gratitude for all he's done for us, including especially his death on the cross. We live out the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) to love God and love our neighbors through serving. And the Bible teaches that if we claim to have faith but don't live it out in our daily lives, then our faith is "dead and useless." (James 2:17 NLT2) It's no faith at all.

But there's another very important reason we serve - it not only reflects that we are trying to live as Jesus lived, it also helps us actually become more and more like Jesus:

“Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.” (Ephesians 4:11-13 CEV; italics added)

The Bible says that in learning to serve, we will become "completely like him (Christ)." Serving grows us as it teaches us to put our faith into action. And again, faith means nothing if it's not lived out in our daily lives. Our lives bear this truth out:

  • In one study, when folks in a congregation were asked, “To what extent has your ministry or service to others affected your spiritual growth?”, 92% answered positively, and none responded that ministry had had a negative effect on their spiritual growth.
  • Over half (58%) of those who were not actively ministering to others felt either “not satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their level of spiritual growth. 
  • And a recent study makes it clear that “serving is one of the most important expressions of being Christlike”.

We have a high expectation that members of Gateway will serve. It's not to keep our members busy or to handle things we can't get to. It's our calling as a church to lead us in obedience to Christ and help us become more and more like him. We were made for this! "God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds..." (Ephesians 2:10 TEV)

I wish I could tell you that everyone in our church family is so convinced of this that we have all the volunteers (or, a better word might be servants) we need, but that's not the case. There's not a Sunday that goes by when we don't need loving Christ followers serving in our children and student areas, serving on our Team Gateway (hospitality) or in our Arts Ministry (performing and technical). We also have a Great Day of Service coming up July 31st, and there are always other mission opportunities. 

Some of you reading this right now have been gifted by God to serve in some of these areas, but you aren't ... and there are folks missing out because you aren't doing your part! And those of us who are regularly serving have a responsibility to carry this value to others and encourage others to serve.

If you have a question about where to serve, contact any of our staff or a friend who is already serving, or just try something for a while and see if it clicks for you. The first area you try may not be the right fit for you, but stay with it and you will find the place you were created for, that fulfills you, that grows you, and that blesses others. And in the process, God will be working in you, transforming you, growing you!