Embracing Service: 4 Reasons to Make Service Opportunities a Part of Your Ministry Rhythms

In today’s world and cultural landscape, incorporating times of service into the rhythms of church life and ministry is essential. By embracing the spiritual practice of service, we not only create opportunities to enrich and impact the lives of those around us but also allow for a transformation of ourselves through the influence of the Holy Spirit.

1. ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY

Perhaps one of the most apparent benefits of regular, intentional service times is the provision of opportunities that allow us to engage with the community around us. Our communities are full of people with needs. These needs can vary — physical, spiritual, emotional, and even financial. By working at meeting needs within the community, we are putting our faith into action and sharing God’s love. We are living out the second greatest commandment which is to “love your neighbor.”

Theodore Roosevelt famously explained, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If we are not engaged within our community, we are missing out on opportunities to share the love of Jesus. Our communities need Jesus, and often the opening to sharing the truth of God and the Gospel is through service. It is by serving that we show in very practical ways that our neighbors are valued and loved by us, the church, and Jesus himself.

2. PERSONAL SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Time and time again, our acts of service open the door for the Holy Spirit not only to impact those we serve but to transform us as well. The working of the Holy Spirit allows movement from our heads and hearts to our hands and feet. Through service, we grow in our journey with God and strengthen the spiritual gifts within us. We learn compassion and humility and move our faith from mere knowledge to practical life and application. James 2:17 points out, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Faith requires action. As we live out our faith, we are blessed to experience God working in and through us. By being intentional in integrating times of service into the rhythms of our church’s life, we create opportunities for the church family to live out their faith, and, as a result, this brings about personal spiritual growth.

3. DRAWS PEOPLE TO GOD

Billy Graham once shared, “We are the Bibles the world is reading; we are the creeds the world is needing; we are the sermons the world is heeding.” In other words, as we serve, we offer up a prayer that God will reveal himself to those with whom we are ministering. We want people to see Jesus through us. Matthew 5:17 teaches, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Adding times of outreach and service into our church calendars is neither for our families to have something to do during the year, nor is it to draw attention to ourselves — it is all about pointing people to Jesus. By including these moments in our ministry rhythms, we open doors and create avenues for the Holy Spirit to work and change lives. When we consistently involve ourselves in service, we become a light of hope and compassion in the community, which draws people toward the source of our light, Jesus.

4. GROW IN MISSION

By intentionally scheduling service opportunities as a part of our ministry rhythms, we create a culture of mission. Instead of a still pond of stagnant, lifeless water, service allows for the flow of the living water of Jesus — which is vibrant, fertile, and growing. At NYC23, our focus was OVERFLOW. The concept provides a wonderful illustration of what the Holy Spirit does in and for us. We should resist trying to block or contain the flow, but allow ourselves to be filled by the Holy Spirit and spill over into the world around us. Through service opportunities, we break through the temptation to be complacent and recognize that we all have a part to play in the kingdom of God.

Many people around us don’t know or may not always feel the love of Jesus. We need to be people of real faith who serve and share. Integrating service into our ministry rhythms is crucial for living out our faith, being effective in mission, engaging our community, and drawing people to Jesus. “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”-1 John 3:18

Andrew Barker