Effective Service

     Each of us has been designed by God to make a contribution.  A key part of human flourishing is living out God’s purposes in our lives.  Every Christian is called to love God, love others, and make disciples of all nations, all three combining to bring God glory with our lives.  But how that plays out is very individual.  A public school teacher walks that out differently than a politician or preacher.  The Apostle Paul tells us: “. . . we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).  Just as we have individual fingerprints, callings are uniquely our own.  Author Mark Batterson refers to this specific, individual calling that each of us has as a “soul print.”  What is your soul print and how do you walk it out?  How would Jesus live if He were you?  What is God’s dream for your life?
      First, discern the dream.  Has God given you the vision of starting a non-profit or business or ministry?  Or has He called you to a particular vocation or volunteer role?  Prayer is the biggest key to figuring this out.  In this noisy culture there is great power in just being still and seeing what direction the Lord might point you in during a time of prayer.  Looking at what you are passionate about can help as well.  I once had an assistant in our children’s ministry who came to me after a year and said, “Derek, I have discovered that I don’t really like children.”  That’s a problem!  Therefore, I asked her what she thought she was passionate about and she said, “young adults and international students.”  We changed her role and she absolutely thrived, reaching out in that direction.   It also helps to see where other Christians have affirmed your efforts.  For example, if I were to try out for our worship team at church, let’s just say there would be “negative feed-back.”  When you try some sphere of service, do others affirm that God has gifted you in that area?       
      Second, work with other Christians to advance the kingdom.  The apostle Paul used the image of the body of Christ (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12).  We are directed by Jesus who is the head of the body.  We have different roles: hand, mouth, ear, eye, foot.  We are not to be jealous of other Christian’s gifts and roles.  Some are gifted to be the mouth of the body, a preacher, teacher or author.  We proclaim the truth of God.  Some are gifted as a hand: picking up food for our food pantry that distributes to the struggling; mowing the church lawn all summer; or answering the call to go help a widow with some project that she needs completed.  This behind-the-scenes role of service is so important.  I love a quote I recently saw, “Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes” (Liturgy of The Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren, 35). If you look at the human body, it struggles when even one of its parts is not working.  I have a niece whose kidneys are not working; that causes massive problems for her body and life.  Whenever a Christian chooses to be inactive or not work in partnership with other Christians, it holds back our effectiveness and lessens our positive impact.  Christian, please do not think, “the church staff will do it” or somebody else will step up.  At my church the majority of the work is done by volunteers.
     Honestly, church reminds me of little league.  Everybody plays!  Let’s all get off the bench and on the field. 
Pastor Derek Dickinson  
Journey Christian Church