Why We Need to Stop Serving in the Church

You know it's important to give God the glory when you succeed. But how do you do that when you fail? How does failure reflect God's goodness? Click here to find out!

If you grew up in the church or even have spent a lot of time being connected to a church, you know that it’s important to serve in the church. Whether you helped out in nursery or participated on the Sunday morning worship team, you were encouraged to “get involved”. As a teen, you may have been a VBS leader. As a young adult, you may have helped out with youth ministries or taught Sunday school. You may have run sound for Sunday morning services or helped in the kitchen for the seniors’ luncheon.

We are all called to serve and be served. We are to be each others’ servants and sacrificially commit our time to help others. Every job is important. We’re all members of the Body, and there’s no job too small.

But does serving mean more than volunteering at church?

Don’t get me wrong—serving our churches is important. We need to support the local church. Without a strong local church, there cannot be effective ministry outside of the church.

But I think that sometimes we get so focused on serving within the church that we forget we are also called to serve outside of the church.

Jesus said he came not to be served, but to serve. Have you ever thought about where he served?

Jesus had the knowledge of a great teacher. He had incredible wisdom, even to the point of teaching the older rabbis in the temple when he was twelve years old. If anyone should have been teaching the Jewish people, it was him. They even expected him to be their savior from Roman rule.

However, nowhere in Scripture do we actually see Jesus spending a lot of his time in the temple. Jesus sought out the broken, the lost, and the outcasts and served them. He served outside of the temple. His entire ministry was focused on reaching the people who were considered to be less-than-righteous.

But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (Matthew 9:12)

Are we spending so much time and energy tending to the healthy that we forget about the sick? Click To Tweet

Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that it isn’t important to serve within the local church or that we should ignore the needs of those within the church. Again, the local church needs to be strong in order to minister elsewhere.

However, I think we sometimes forget that we are in the church to prepare for outside-church ministry. I grew up in the church. I started volunteering in the nursery when I was eleven, was a leader a kids’ camps for seven years, led the youth worship team, was a coach for my church’s Bible quizzing program, and participated on the Sunday morning worship team. I’ve also helped out at various other church-related events. However, I could probably count on one hand the number of hours I have spent serving outside the four walls of my church. How much time have I spent ministering to people who haven’t met Jesus? If we are to reach the lost, we must be among them.

I’d like to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and find a way to serve outside the church. To show Jesus to those who haven’t met him. To reach the broken, the sick, the lost.

Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matthew 9:13)

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Allowing God to Use Us in Our Fear

As Christians, God asks us to step out of our comfort zones for Him. But how do we work through our fear and get to where He wants us? Click here to read about our fear and how God can work through us!

Remember when you were just a kid and you were suddenly inspired to ride your bike without training wheels? It was like you had a burst of courage, ready to step into a new frontier of big-kid-ness.

 

My brother, two years younger than me, had this experience at the age of four. I did not. But if there’s anything about being a big sister, it’s the unwritten rule that you must always be more proficient than your brothers at everything to keep them in their place.

 

Apparently, six-year-olds don’t have a whole lot of pride, and my young reputation was not enough to convince myself to try to ride a bike without training wheels. No way.

 

No, to this day I am not riding a bike with training wheels. In fact, I went on to learn how to drive a golf cart at the age of eleven, a four-wheeler at the age of sixteen (well, sorta…but that’s another story), a car at the age of seventeen and a manual transmission about six months ago. (Next up: boat.)

 

My parents eventually got me on just two wheels by openly shaming me into it (I guess I did have some pride). If my four-year-old brother could ride a bike, I—a big girl of six—surely could.

 

The reason I didn’t want to learn how to ride without training wheels wasn’t because I liked training wheels. They were actually kinda annoying—wobbly and noisy and for babies. But I was too afraid to try riding without training wheels. My dad assured me he would hold the back of the bicycle seat so I wouldn’t fall. “You won’t let go, right Daddy?”

 

“Nope. I’ll hang on the whole way down.”

 

Did I mention we lived in the country and had a 50-mile-long gravel driveway?

 

Well, my dad held onto the back of my bike and away we went. After what felt like two seconds, I looked back and he was standing at the top of the driveway. I was halfway down the driveway. Panic ensued. The result: scraped knees and tears.

 

This story reminds me of how often we resist the Holy Spirit when He tells us to do something. He wants us to move into unfamiliar territory—the kind that will urge us into complete reliance on Him. So often we feel that firm nudge but respond with, “Is that actually You, Lord? ‘Cause that seems like a strange thing to do. It will hurt if I fall. I’d rather feel stable where I am.”

 

The problem with being in a stable area of life is that we start thinking we got this. When you feel in control, you don’t cry out for help.

 

There will be times that God asks us to do things we just flat-out don’t want to do. There have been times that God has asked me to do something and my answer has been no. “No, God, I can’t. I want to make You happy, but I just can’t.”

 

And yet, through tears and heartache, I hear the ever-gentle, “No, you can’t. But I can. I can because I AM.”

 

Folks, He really is enough. And when you really, truly, in your heart of hearts know that He is going to be holding your bicycle seat all the way, you can enjoy the ride. You can focus on how you ride instead of how you’re staying on. And even when it feels like He’s still standing at the top of the driveway, He is really right beside you. Guess what? You might still crash.

 

But if it means being in God’s will and enjoying the life He has set before me, I would rather crash on two wheels than be safe on four.

 

Let me encourage you to say yes to God in something He is asking you to do, big or small. Fully rely on Him. He will show His power to you if you let Him.

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Being Pure in Every Aspect of Life

When we hear "purity", we usually think of sexual purity. But have you ever stopped to think about being pure in other areas of your life? God asks us to live holy and pure lives, but how do we do that? Click here to read more!

If you went to youth group as a teen, there’s little doubt that at some point, you got “the talk” from your youth pastor or small group leader. Everyone knew that sexual purity was going to be discussed; the question was if it would be in large group or in segregated small groups. And you definitely did not want to be sitting beside the guy you liked during said “talk”. Awkward.

We spent so much time talking about sexual purity in youth group that I think we forgot about something just as important: purity in every area of life.

It’s really easy to agree with the fact that we should have a sexually pure lifestyle. But what about laughing at a suggestive joke? Using coarse language (whether that’s taking God’s name in vain or not)?

Purity is something that isn’t talked about a whole lot, but there are several verses on it. In the Old Testament, God’s people were required to make sacrifices in order to keep themselves pure before God. In the New Testament, there are many verses about purity. In 1 Peter 3, Peter shows us that purity is powerful. In verses 1 & 2, he tells his readers:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

When we are pure, people notice. And Peter says that being respectful and pure are two important traits that a woman can use to bring her husband to Christ—without a word. Wow.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been in situations where we were all hanging out at youth group or young adults and someone shared the sanitized or “Christian” version of a dirty joke. The kind you wouldn’t pick up on if you were completely naïve, but was also too easy to read into. Everyone kind of laughs, like they know they shouldn’t, but hey—it’s funny. We’re all Christians. It’s like there’s a mutual understanding that we all know we shouldn’t laugh, but we won’t judge each other if we do.

The truth is, purity matters. It stands out when you refuse to participate in anything not honouring to God. When you give up your popularity to make Jesus proud, you stop blending in.

Maybe that’s what’s so scary.

Maybe we’re afraid of standing out. We are Christians and want to act as such, but we don’t want to look super righteous or be called a goody two-shoes. We don’t want to take any risks. But the reality is that being pure is an essential part of the Christian faith and lifestyle.

The latter part of 1 Timothy 5:22 says,

…nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

If Christ has made us righteous before God, has he not made us pure? Why then, if we are made righteous in Christ, should we try to hide that?

If we take purity out of the picture, we are hiding the evidence of our faith. Click To Tweet

Please also notice in the above verse: we are not to take part in others’ sins; our responsibility is ourselves. I’m not saying you should preach to everyone who tells a distasteful joke, nor that you should develop a “holier than thou” attitude. Purity should be paired with humility. What I am saying is that we must choose purity for ourselves.

In 1 Timothy 4:12 & 16a, Paul encourages Timothy, a young man serving the Lord, with these words:

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (…) Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. (…)

Paul encourages Timothy to not only be pure, but to be an example. To stand out. To set a high standard for himself. In verse 16, Paul adds that Timothy must guard himself and focus on the Word. Purity does not come easily, ladies. It requires us to watch our behaviour and focus on Christ. It doesn’t just happen.

Today, let me encourage you to seek purity in all things. By being pure, you are being a powerful witness to others. You’re saying that your values matter more than your reputation. Christ matters more than your comfort. I challenge you to set yourself apart by doing everything out of purity.

 

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