To Serve Or Not To Serve?

A pastor once explained that there are two types when it comes to church service; World War 2 and The Vietnam War. He said in WW2 everyone was for the war and understood its importance and anyone and everyone volunteered. Then with the Vietnam War it was very different. There were a lot of people that pushed back when it came to the war. Many didn’t want to serve. There was a draft because the government didn’t have enough volunteers and subsequently there were many draft dodgers. The pastor’s point was church service can be like this too. You have those that will do anything and everything. They are more willing to help then there is work to be done. And then there are those that don’t want to volunteer. They  just want to come on Sunday and maybe an occasional event. The reasons why are numerous but they do not serve nonetheless.

When you look at the American church, there are more from Vietnam than WW2. The amount that does not serve is greater than the amount that does. The numbers are staggering at the amount of work that gets done in an average church by so little help. Pew Research did a study that discovered, “Among U.S. adults who are Christian, three-in-ten have a high level of congregational involvement…” Which means 7 out of 10 are not involved in their church.  Another study by the National Survey of Congregations discovered that over 70% of churches reported that finding volunteers for their church is very challenging or downright impossible. A different survey discovered that just 25% volunteer for their church and those 25%  serve just once a year!

Why is this? Why do the majority of  Christians choose to just be spectators? Is it that big of a deal if they sit on the bench instead of playing in the game? What does the Bible have to say about service? Do you even have to serve? I mean, the pastor has to because he gets paid, right? But you don’t get paid! So can’t you just come on Sunday’s? And if you do have to serve, why? Isn’t God all powerful? He doesn’t need my help!  Over the next couple of weeks I will be answering these very questions. I am going to look at what the Bible has to say about service. Today I will kick it off with whether or not we need to serve. Most Christians don't view service properly ,the way the bible teaches it.  Even those that do serve, a lot of times they serve for the wrong reason. There are also Christians who serve, serve well, serve for the right reasons but don’t really want to serve. They don’t look forward to it. There is no joy, they’re burned out, it is a drag, hard work, no fun etc. Ever feel this way? Before going there let us first answer the question of whether or not you have to serve.

Why do you go to church? Wait, isn’t this article about service? It is, just stick with me and answer the question; why do you go to church? There may be a lot of answers to that question. You may say to worship, because God says to, to fellowship, to learn or because that is what christians do! Did you know that one of the reasons you come to church is to get equipped? You're probably thinking, “Equip me to do what?” To work! To serve! Paul tells the church of Ephesus that the reason there are pastors in the church is, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ...” (Ephesians 4:12) Ever think of that? God wants you to come to church and hear a pastor preach so that you can be equipped to do ministry! So if God wants pastors to equip His people, what does this imply? That everyone is to serve! Everyone is to minister! It is not a matter of whether or not you should, but that you need to be equipped because you will!

Do you have that mentality when you walk in the door? That you are at church to worship God and to get equipped to build up the body of believers? That may seem a little much. You may think that you have nothing to offer, are not ready, you’re not a minister, you’re too sinful, too busy etc. This is what I mean by most not looking at service the way the bible does. If you would randomly ask any Christian why they go to church, how many do you think you would have to ask before they gave you this reason?!

What we often forget is that our service is a form of worship (Romans 12:1-2). We are all called (not just the pastor) to serve God. We are to seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33) not our own. God teaches us that we are all capable of serving and thus called too.  If this wasn’t the case then why would He give you a spiritual gift? The Bible is very clear that every single Christian is given a spiritual gift as soon as they are saved. The reason? “...for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7)  I.E. to serve! Do you know your spiritual gift? Do you serve using that gift? If you do, great! If you don’t, then why? If you don’t, are you following God’s calling for your life?
Are we to serve? Yes. Does God command us to serve? Yes. Is there any reason not to? No. Where do you begin to know where to serve? By using your spiritual gift! Why would God ever ask this of me? That I will cover in a future article. For now know that God calls all Christians to serve in the Body of Christ with their spiritual gift. If you are not, how can you say you are following God’s word?

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

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