5 Lies That Keep Us From Serving Kendall Lankford
March 22, 2018
If you have been to church for any length of time, it is a good chance you have heard a lot about serving. Every week men and women from stage mention how serving will help you get connected and live outside yourself because that is just what Christians do. The message about serving centers around the fact that Christians are people who at the core of their identity are becoming more and more like Jesus. And since Jesus came to this world as a servant who would give up His life for the good of others, to be like Him is to be a servant. (Mark 10:43-45).
And while I have been so encouraged by how God is using serving to help so many people grow in their walk with God, I have also noticed that many people do not see themselves as a servant. In fact, if the numbers are correct, only 20% of American Christians are serving in a local church and even less are serving in their communities, jobs, and neighborhoods. And while there are many reasons for this phenomenon, I think 5 persistent lies are getting in the way.
First, many believe that…
1) The Church doesn’t need me.
Because when everything looks nice on Sunday when the message sounds great, the coffee was served hot and fresh, and the kids got checked in without any issues, the temptation for us is to say:
“This church is great, but I do not think they need me”.
But the problem with viewing the church this way is that it forgets one of the most basic facts about us; we were designed by God to serve and care for others. We were not meant to only serve when a clear need is presented; we were designed to live a life of continual service that looks like Jesus.
This way of thinking also misunderstands what it means to be the church. Paul tells us that we are all a part of one body (1 Corinthians 12) and that we have been given gifts to serve one another (Romans 12:6). Why? Because we need one another. (Go and check out 1 Corinthians 12:15-27 for more on this)
A second lie I have found that keeps people from serving is that we believe…
2) we're doing the church a favor.
We listen to the weekly call for serving and unwittingly believe that the church is a group of needy people without the necessary funds to hire enough people to do the job. But, when we think this way, we believe we are doing something good for the church instead of seeing that we are really doing something good and necessary for our own walk with God. Now don’t get me wrong, we cannot earn right standing with God and we certainly cannot merit our own salvation based on what we do. But if we are truly saved, then a saved kind of life will begin pouring out of us. That kind of life is not only obedient but really really good for us.
I have also heard many people say:
3) We are just too busy
This is just not true. I get that life happens on overdrive through the week and the last thing we want to do is to have a hectic weekend. But when is busyness an appropriate excuse for disobedience? Before we cut serving and caring for others out of our calendar, we must take a hard look at our calendars to make absolutely sure that they are honoring to the Lord and reflect a good understanding of Biblical stewardship with one of our most precious commodities; our time.
As a Christian, we cannot be too busy to be obedient.
I have also experienced a very subtle lie that sounds like this...
4) Serving doesn’t “Really” matter
We would all agree that serving matters. But does serving a cup of coffee “really” matter? How does watching someone else's kid, clicking slides that go up onto the screen, or parking cars really help me walk with God? It doesn’t if the only reason we are doing those things is to pull off an event.
But for us at GENESIS, every serving opportunity is an opportunity to love and care for someone else. We do not have a café team because having coffee is what a church needs to have to be the church. The church is the blood-bought bride of Christ who was rescued and adopted into His family by His finished work alone.
So why have coffee?
We have a café team because it gives us the opportunity to meet lots of people, greet them, welcome them into our space, and bless them with our presence. We have a parking team, not because people can’t figure out where to park their cars, but so we can smile, wave, and genuinely celebrate all of the men and women God brings to our space. We make volunteer opportunities with one goal in mind; people, because Jesus prioritized people. He loved them and expects us to show our love to them as well.
Serving is an incredible vehicle for us to show the love of God to every guest that comes in our space.
The last lie I have seen that keeps people from serving is the idea that:
5) IT doesn’t have to happen On SUNDAY
This is true. And IF a person is serving and caring for others in their jobs, showcasing the love of Christ in their neighborhoods, and living out the Gospel in their cities, then this point makes perfect sense. But the numbers actually show two things.
- The vast majority of Christians who do not serve on Sunday are also not serving this way in their communities, neighborhoods, and jobs.
- The ones who are are also serving on Sunday.
Do not get me wrong, serving does not have to happen on Sunday inside a church building to be legitimate. But this world would be such an amazing place to live if every single one of the 2 billion Christians who live here felt encouraged and empowered to go live like Christ for the life of the world. But until that day happens, the church is called to train and equip men and women to be life-long servants wherever the Lord sends them.
And serving on Sunday is a great way to begin learning how to be a servant.
If you would like more information on serving within GENESIS, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.