Where Should I Serve?
Serving others is a critical component of your own spiritual development as well as that of others. And just like developing a lifestyle of prayer and bible study, getting started in serving others is challenging. “Where should I serve?” is one of the most common questions I am asked as a pastor. It’s also my favorite question because it reveals a heart that is serious about worshipping Jesus and loving others. Here are three ideas to get you started.
According to the bible, you have been gifted to serve in a supernatural way (Romans 12:3-8, I Corinthians 12:4-11 and Ephesians 4:1-16). Some bible experts believe there are as many as twenty-two specific spiritual gifts listed in Scripture (Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem, page 1020). And many scholars also believe the spiritual gifts lists in the bible aren’t comprehensive. Discovering who you are and how you should serve can be daunting.
So here is an alternative plan. Look at the service opportunities in front of you through a binary framework. There are two big buckets of service options according to I Peter 4:7-11. This text declares that you can serve others through your words or you can serve others through your actions. Pick one of those two big pools and dive in.
In a perfect world, service opportunities would be tailored to suit your unique spiritual shape. But we don’t live in a perfect world. This means we sometimes serve out of place or in a way that isn’t our first choice based on the needs of the church. Remember that the church doesn’t exist as a stage for you to showcase your supernatural skills. Instead, the church exists as a showcase for Jesus’ glory. And his glorious strength is made known through human weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Ask ministry leaders where the needs are the greatest. Then then roll up your sleeves and get to work in those areas.
One of the most helpful things I ever heard was from a confrontational seasoned pastor. He asked me to let go of the assumption that I know myself better than anyone else. That was hard to hear but good to know. Particularly when it comes to serving the church. We can focus on who we would like to be rather than who we are. Servant ministry exists for the sake of others. It makes good sense then to allow others to have a say into who we are and what we do. An internal calling to ministry is good. An external confirmation of calling from those we serve is even better. Ask others for guidance.