Did you know there are people who taste pet food to make sure it is good enough for animals? Human beings actually eat the food that’s made for pets to make sure it tastes good enough.
There are all kinds of jobs that have to be done to make the world work: fortune cookie writers, iceberg movers, and snake venom milkers. There are even people who smell armpits for a living to make sure deodorant works.
If no one did these jobs, the world wouldn’t work.
The church is the same. There are so many moving parts that require people to serve. If no one is willing to serve, the church doesn’t work.
If you are a follower of Jesus, your church needs you to serve for reasons that are both incredibly practical and deeply spiritual.
Here are 3 reasons church doesn’t work if you aren’t serving:
1. We make friends by doing things with people
Think about your friends in life. Odds are good they are people you do things with. Whether it’s a sport, a shared hobby, or a common workplace, your closest friends are most likely people you do things with.
When my kids were in school I didn’t encourage them to make friends by telling them to go and talk to random strangers. Rather, I encouraged them to get involved in activities like choir, drama, or E-sports. I knew they were much more likely to develop strong connections by doing things WITH people instead of just being AROUND people.
Meaningful relationships are the fertile soil of growing faith, and it’s hard to make friends at church by just sitting in a service with other strangers.
Regularly serving on a ministry team creates opportunities to get to know people. It allows you to have shared experiences with other people who are part of your church family while also doing something that really matters.
Friends and faith go hand in hand. Serving with other people is one of the best ways to make friends in your church.
2. Serving is spiritual formation
Jesus summarized all the rules of religion in one command – love God and love your neighbor. That’s it.
When we serve in our church we are doing both of those things. We are loving God by facilitating the mission of his church. We are loving our neighbors by putting them first and meeting the needs of our church community.
The act of serving is literally putting God and others before yourself. That is spiritual formation.
I’ve known hundreds of people in my life whose faith was formed and strengthened primarily by serving. I’ve also known hundreds of people who struggled in their faith primarily because they put their own needs and desires over the needs of others.
Serving orients us around love. It teaches us that pursuing the good of others leads to a life of joy and fulfillment. Pursuing our own desires leads to an empty and unsatisfied life.
3. Stuff just needs to get done
Toilets don’t clean themselves, and no one wants to use a bathroom that never gets cleaned. It’s gross but true. And practical.
There are things that have to get done for church to work. And somebody has to do them.
Someone has to care for the babies in the nursery and teach our kids about Jesus. Someone has to make the coffee and greet people at the door. And yes, someone has to sweep the floors and clean the toilets.
The beauty of serving in the church is that there are so many opportunities for different people to use their diverse gifts to serve. And just because a job seems small or menial doesn’t mean it isn’t crucial to effectively communicating the gospel.
Whether you are on stage leading worship where everyone can see you or vacuuming a classroom completely unnoticed, every job is important to make God accessible to everyone.
Serving keeps the engine of the church running, and every job matters.
The apostle Paul wrote this about Jesus:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant
Jesus laid down every right and privilege he had to become a servant for us. As followers of Jesus we are called to live like he lived, think like he thought, and do what he taught.
Not only does the church work when we serve, but we become more like Jesus. You can live like Jesus and help your church by serving.