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Sunday, April 27, 2014

How Important are Serving and Outreach to You?

How Important are Serving and Outreach to You?
Are you the active type who wants to plug in and get busy making a difference? Do you feel you're contributing effectively where you are? Does your church reach out beyond the four walls?

Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Leadership: What Difference Will I Make?

How Important are Serving and Outreach to You?

By Evan Nehring

This is a continuation of the post series on the Church Search Matrix:

Opportunity to Serve and Lead

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Like I mentioned in the matrix instructions, a church with a weakness is not necessarily a bad thing. It may be an opportunity to make a difference. Expect some screening with church ministries. That’s a good thing. Throwing the first warm body into a leadership role isn’t the recipe for success. Be willing to attend some meetings and training. Get plugged in socially in the church so there’s relational trust.

On the other hand, there’s a point where screening and training become the inquisition. It can feel like you’re sitting alone in a dark room with a low hanging light pointed in your face as intense captors sling accusatory questions one after another. It’s not easy, on the church side, walking through baggage to get the right people into the right ministries. We need God’s grace!

When a church on-boards new recruits efficiently and graciously, the results are awesome! Ministries to children, youth, the community, the world and God are unleashed.

Consider, “Do I have a sense that I can plug in and serve here?” or “Could I make a difference in helping people find their service niche here?”

Photo Credit: Mr Conguito on Flickr Creative Commons

Outreach and Missions: It's Not All About Us

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38)

When I was a college student in Minneapolis, I connected with a small community center church in the Luxton Park neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. The pastor was African, like from-Africa African, and the handful of people who attended were poor. Amos from Brooklyn would come and play drums. I brought my bass and sometimes Sheri, my older sister, would play keyboards. It was a blast!

I would go down to the community center in the evenings to shoot hoops and connect with some local teens. One winter night, I went over there and hung out with a pile of black kids, elementary age. I remember this crazy snowball fight and them all tackling me by those park lights. It was magical.

I’m looking for a church where lost people are as close as a snowy mitten facewash. I’m asking, “Is this church ready to get out where real people are?” and “Can I help take them there?”

Comments Are Always Welcome...

Are you the active type who wants to plug in and get busy making a difference? Do you feel you're contributing effectively where you are? Does your church reach out beyond the four walls?

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  1. Good word today. I share it this way, it is not the what or even the how, but the why that matters. The why defines and shapes people for ministry. There are a lot of people in the church, pastors included, where they are defined by the what and how they share, but they stumble and fumble when asked a simple question: Why do you do what and how you do? God does not need the what and how of our efforts, but he does measure our why.

    1. I totally agree that the condition of our hearts in serving is paramount. Thanks Mike and Connie!

  2. Awesome! I like how you used the word magical. That's a great way to explain your joy filled experience.

    1. Yeah, Justin, something about the way God joins our human moments with natural wonders like that. It's powerful to me.