Well, we’re finally ready for our fourth of the five big questions that will help revitalize your local church. As you may have noticed by now, each of these questions comes as a step in the process of connecting with and discipling new people. Only when we achieve such an outward, people focus can new life come to a congregation and only such a focus will maintain the health of that local church too.
So, before we jump into question four, let’s review a bit. Our first question—How do we engage new people?—helped us see the critical need to develop specific strategic steps for connecting with people throughout our community. There simply can be no new day at your church without some new life!
Our second question occupied us for several blogs—How will we treat them when they walk through our doors? As we said, it would be tragic to work hard to connect with someone only to drop the ball when they visited our church. Effective hospitality and assimilation strategies are some of the most critical elements of a church health plan.
Next, we considered our third of these critical five questions for strengthening your church–How will we teach them how to follow Jesus? Here, we have given some thought both to our content and the “how” of our delivery system. The very nature of making disciples is delivering the life changing truth of Jesus’ teaching through the relationships we have with those who desire to follow Him. Every local church needs a plan for helping its people fulfill this critical commission.
Question four? How will we help them find a place to serve?
Serving is the only way you can follow a servant. There’s simply no other means of following Jesus than learning to put others ahead of yourself and give your best to their needs. Surely, I don’t have to tell you of the nature of serving. We know that it demands humility, love, and a genuine heart to see others grow.
But, a local church needs a plan for helping people shift to this life focus. No one is naturally servant-oriented. We all tend toward self-centeredness. So if we’re going to help people learn to serve, we must do more than just assign them a task. We must teach them the “heart” of a servant.
Here’s a mistake many congregations make. They think serving is simply finding something for someone to do. Help us with this…try this and see if it fits…Hey, we need someone to do this. Unfortunately, these “invitations” alone leave us still trying to connect with someone’s self-centeredness. So the “serving” questions become “Does this fit you?” “Are you enjoying your area of ministry?” “Are you finding fulfillment in your serving?” A real servant would be puzzled by such questions.
Serving requires an attitude of the heart that says, Whatever needs to be done…I’m willing. How do you teach that? First, by modeling that focus. People need an example of someone who sacrifices for the good of others.
Second, you must help people develop a humble spirit. In a self-focused culture, humility is hardly original equipment. Lessons that address the “why” and the “how” of humility are essential to those for whom such attitudes are foreign.
Third, you must connect the dots between serving and loving Jesus. It’s our love for Christ that ought to fuel our efforts of serving. The idea that we love what we do for Christ isn’t always true. But we love the One we do it for. Help people see that serving is the primary way we demonstrate that love or, as some have described it, love Him back. Truth is, there will be many days when your efforts to serve aren’t fun or exciting or personal fulfilling, but that’s where serving differs from being served. Servants don’t serve because it’s fun. They serve because of their commitment to their Master.
Next time, we’ll look at a second step in answering this critical fourth question, but there is no way we can overemphasize the important of this first step. Without a servant’s heart, a person will never learn to grow in Christ. Only when we learn to humble ourselves will we put ourselves in position to become true followers of the greatest Servant human history has ever known.