A Pastor's Heart
|Posted on August 16, 2018 at 12:05 AM|
As we make the commitment to participate in both corporate worship and to share our lives with other believers, the work and ministry of the local church should begin to come into focus. In Southern Baptist life and work, each church exists under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and his authority alone. As a result, the members and attendees of the local church are the source for the church’s ministries and for the church’s community engagement. Through the efforts of those who are a part of the local church the church serves its members and attendees and shares with its community.
These final three parts of our look at Spiritual Disciplines for Daily then will focus on the disciplines of serving, sharing, and giving. Each person within the church carries a level of responsibility in each of these three areas and each of these three areas provide benefits to both the church and to the spiritual growth and development of the individual believer.
The third corporate discipline for our daily lives is the discipline of serving. The Apostle Paul shares in Ephesians chapter 2 that all believers are the creation of God in Christ Jesus to accomplish good works that God prepared ahead of time for us. Paul would certainly know of this preparation for we read in Acts 9 that when Paul came to faith in the Lord Jesus, God had set him apart to carry the message of the Gospel to the Gentile world, to leaders, and to suffer greatly for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as God had staked a path of service for Paul to travel, he has staked a path of service for you to travel as well.
The primary avenue for your Christian service will be in service through the local church. The Bible teachers us in both Ephesians and in 1 Corinthians that all believers are called and uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the work and ministry of the church through his power and their service. So when we commit to serving within the local church, we are committed to fulfilling the call and purpose of our salvation.
So what does this service look like then? Truthfully your service through the local church can look like a lot of things and they can accomplish the work and ministry in a great many ways. In one church I served we had a man named Roy. Roy was nearly 80 years old when he began to attend our church and one day I asked Roy if he would be willing to come a little early before Sunday school to make coffee for everyone in the fellowship hall. Additionally, I asked if he would also be willing to give everyone a bulletin on their way into the building. For the rest of my time as pastor of that church, Roy was a faithful servant. Many mornings he would arrive forty-five minutes early to accomplish his act of service and for years every person who entered our building was met with a warm smile and a bulletin. At the tender age of 81, I had the opportunity ordain Roy as a deacon of our church and many of the families he served in that role, he built relationships with in service before Sunday school making coffee and distributing bulletins. There are people who are in believers today, serving churches today, and serving in ministry today because of Mr. Roy’s faithful service to his local church doing something so simple and yet so profound.
Another instance of service took place during a day in my ministry. My wife’s classroom at an elementary school 40 miles away needed to be painted. So myself and a team of four other men went over and painted that room. One of those team members was a man who had a different color skin that any other member in our church at the time. Through the course of that day those other men had the chance to serve with, talk too, and share with that dear brother. A few weeks later, a few people in the church began to have an issue with the fact that I had baptized that brother. I did not have to say a word. Those men that had served at his side in my wife’s classroom made it very clear that he was a part of our church family and if there was going to be some leaving it would be that brother that would be heading for the door.
Serving builds bridges, it creates humility, it strengthens the bonds of love, and it accomplishes so many of our Lord’s purposes within his church. Serving takes place in the kitchen, in the nursery, in Sunday school, in the sound booth, in children’s church, and any where that we are at work. At United Baptist Church, I encourage everyone to find one place where they can serve and serve consistently. Whether they sing in the choir, teach a class, lead a committee, or volunteer in the office there is a way for you to use the gifts and abilities that God has placed within you in his local church.
Serving accomplishes what few things do. Serving helps set the focus on the others we are working for and with those we are working with. Serving should keep us from setting ourselves in a place of authority and rather offers us a chance to place others in a greater position than ourselves. Serving should ultimately be an offering that we make to the Lord who saved us and should reflect the work that he has done and continues to do in us today.
Where can you serve? How can you serve? What areas of service has God unique gifted and called you to be a part of? As you answer those questions make the commitment to the discipline of serving and experience the joy that only comes from accomplishing the work God has prepared for you to do.