Do you have a heart to serve or volunteer somewhere? Have you considered your local church? For this blog post, I am talking about your home church; as opposed to a different loation. For instance, my home church is Shore Vineyard.
Over the years, I have gone to a wide variety of churches. Our location would vary. One church met in a small house and another church met in a storefront. How about a church that meets at a school or a warehouse?
There is something that these churches have in common. Someone has to step up and volunteer their time and effort. The Church is truly one body and its various members have a part to play.
Do you have a servant’s heart? Do you have a willingness to step in and help? If so, you already have the first key ingredient. A willingness to help can readily propel you to where you need to go. I have a servant’s heart and it is why I volunteer at Somebody Cares and the local food pantry, at Community Reformed Church.
I did not always have such a desire to help. According to my mother, I had to be pushed into doing any such thing. She is right. When I accepted the gift of salvation, I became a new creation in Christ Jesus. The seed of a servant’s heart was planted in my heart. In time, it grew into a willingness to serve and help. First, it needed to be cultivated bythe Word and the encouragement of others.
I still have a long way to go; however, there are a few lessons that I’d like to share with you. I have already pointed to the first one. Because of what God has done, a willingness to serve is already there. It simply needs to be encouraged and directed. The pastor simply needs to say, “We need workers in the children’s minsitry. Talk with this person, about volunteering your time.”
Yes, pastors do need to give a pitch for volunteers and teach on the necesity for volunteers. It’s how I know about the need for volunteers in any ministry. However, you need to cultivate a servant’s heart; as it is not automatic thing.
Here is the second lesson for growing a servant’s heart and finding ways to volunteer at a church. Don’t be afraid to step out in faith and try it. By doing so, you will learn your strengths and weakness. Plus, you may learn about leaning on God’s strength and not your own strength. What if you make a mistake? You can consider yourself, a human bean and you have a pulse.
Yes, your are going to make mistakes and you’ll learn. I have been on a journey with Jesus, for a long time. Guess what? I have not arrived and I’m still learning. Yes, I do have a pulse. How about you? Here is a bonus tip to go with this lesson. Don’t focus too much on what you can’t do!
Here is a special tip for pastors. It is very likely that I’m not the only Christian with a disability. It can be very challenging for such a person to find ways to volunteer at their local church. The problem is, there is a tendency of some people to focus on what the person can’t do. Becaus it can be uncomfortable, I have a very simple solution and it’s a “Duh!”
Ask God, the Father “What is your vision for this person?”, “What are you calling this person to do?”, “What gift(s) does this person have?”, “How can I encourage him?”, and “What role do you want him, to play at this church?” By askinng questions, you may open some very unexpected doors of ministries.
You may also learn the person is in need of inner healing. I say this because people with disabilities have a strong need to be needed. If the person is suffering from a fear of rejection then you could be opening the door to so much healing by their volunteering at your church. Don’t be too critical; as they will make mistakes.
With that last statement, I will point to the third lesson. One of the best way to build confidence and a healthy sense of purpose is to volunteer. Hey, everyone wants to feel needed and appreciated! As you step up to the plate, the person will grow in so many ways. You’ll also be fulfilling the royal command to “Love each other; as Christ loved us!” See John 13:34-35
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
As you grow, you are more likely to reach out into other areas. Don’t be afraid to spend time in the prayer room or join your church’s prayer team. That is one ministry that always need people and it is a good starting point. It will also serve to help you draw closer to God and learn his plan for your life.
Here’s the fourth lesson. Do you know that you have a role to play in your local church? For one thing, it’s not to be a pew warmer or an inanimate trophy. As a kid, I could never sit still for long. I had to be occupied by doing something. When I accepted Jesus, this reality never changed. Here’s what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:14-20:
14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body.
According to Paul, I have a part to play in the life of the Body of Christ. The key is, I needed to learn my role or the part that I’m to play. I do love Peter Wagner’s “Discover Your Spiritual Gifts“. I’d suggest that you get the paperback edition and take the quiz. This book has given me, some great insights to what God is calling me, to.
After you take the quiz, I’d suggest that you talk with your pastor or trusted Christian friend about the resultss. Here’s why. I took the test and I scored high in teaching. How was I going to accomplish this? I’m not too good at standing in front of a class. I took this test, at First Institutional Baptist Church. Thankfully I was blessed some wise friends.
They pointed out that teaching is not limited to conducting a Bible study. It could easily be writing. At the time, this blog site was in the distant future. It was not on the radar. The point is, it pointed in the general direction. I simply needed to take a step forward.
If you think teaching is your gift then you may want to try the children’s ministry or a teaching ministry that could use some help. It could very well be a starting point for you. It could be that you have a gift for “help” and a heart for the poor. Why not volunteer at your church’s food or clothing pantry. I could go on; however, I hope you get the point of that test.
Here is a tip that goes with the above suggestion. Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus. Don’t be afraid to listen to what the Holy Spirit reveals to you. Here is what God says in Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.
You may only get a small nugget or you may get a strange dream showing what God is calling you, to do. You can be asured that God will direct your feet in the way to go. You simply need to learn to trust God. It may be that you need to spend time, with a recovery group before you get a ministry running a halfway home. But first, you need to start with God.
Here is a fifth lesson. Learn to look before you leap into action. Listen carefully to what the person is saying! One time, there was a call to help at a friend’s house. Unfortunately, the person was not very clear about the need. Thankfully, I called my friend and pastor.
He explained the real need. It became clear that I would not be a good candidate for that job. It requires something that I could not do. There is no shame in saying “No” when it’s something that you can’t do. You don’t have to rush off to the rescue.
My friend, Rick one gave this analogy about me. Today, I can readily say that he was so right. Sadly, Rick won’t get to read this story, on this side of eternity. Here is the analogy.
Barry. You are like a fireman who is rushing off to the rescue! You need to learn some basics before you start rushing off to help. Take care of the tires of the fire engines. Learn to wait and ask God, for wisdom.
At the time, I had difficulty in reading my Bible on a daily basis. I, also had trouble with being quiet before the LORD. That is, I needed to learn to listen. Are you getting the point that Rick was making? Are you struggling in this area? I would encourage you to ask Jesus, for help.