Every year, our church participates in an incredible global event called Serve Day. Organized through the Association of Related Churches (ARC), Serve Day is an invitation for churches across the world to serve their local communities and share the love of God through practical acts of kindness on the same day. Serving is at the heart of the mission of the Church, and something powerful happens when we come together in a concerted effort to serve our communities simultaneously. We can’t wait for Serve Day 2021! If you haven’t yet, we would encourage you to consider participating in this special event. This year, it’s happening on Saturday, July 10. For more information on Serve Day, follow this link.
Why is serving important?
First and foremost, we serve as a reflection of our Savior. Before we served him, Jesus served us. Before we had given anything for him, he gave everything for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Recently, our church community spent six months studying the gospel of Mark together. The verse that arguably serves as the thesis for the entire gospel is Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The writer tells us in plain language that Jesus came with a specific mission in mind: not to be served, but to serve. Jesus didn’t come to collect something from us, he came to deliver something to us. This truth is the spiritual foundation for all our service, sacrifice, and generosity.
Practically, serving meets the needs of our community. Our cities are full of needs. All around us, there are problems to solve and people to serve. We can’t do everything, but we won’t let that stop us from doing something. The love of Jesus compels us to reach out to those around us and do what we can to help them in their trouble. We are not filled with pity. Pity is passive. Rather, we are filled with compassion. The difference between the two is expressed in this one simple word: action. Pity starts and ends with a feeling; compassion moves beyond emotion into action. But serving meets needs in ways we may not expect. One of the most powerful human needs is the need for purpose. Serving not only meets the needs of those who are being served, it also fills those who are serving with a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. We don’t serve for these things but experience has taught us that, even as we give, we receive.
What is your next step?
So, you may be asking yourself, how can I create a culture of serving in my local church? What is my next step? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Your context and current circumstances are unique to you. We don’t know the details of your story, but what we can share with you is a little bit of our story. Our system for serving beyond the four walls of our church is what we call I Love My City. From the very beginning of VOUS, our monthly outreaches have been a central part of who we are. Once a month, we invite our church to serve our local community through various projects and partnerships. Over the years, we have established ongoing relationships with great organizations in our city and have gotten to work with them to accomplish their goals. Rather than trying to solve the problems of our city alone, our strategy has been to identify incredible leaders and organizations that are already doing good in our local community and come alongside them in their work. These partnerships have led us far beyond what we could have accomplished alone and propelled us forward in the power of multiplication.
I believe one of the key factors in establishing a culture of service in our church has been our consistency in communicating the importance of service and organizing opportunities for people to serve. If we had gotten quiet or failed to follow through, we wouldn’t have gained any momentum in this area. Showing up is underrated. Tell your people you care with your words and then show them with your actions. Don’t be discouraged if you fail or falter along the way. Just keep showing up and you’ll be surprised as you see others start to join you on the journey.
We are here to help in any way we can! Beyond the few thoughts shared in this article, we would love to partner with you as you work to build systems and strengthen the culture of serving in your church. If you are interested in learning more, or you would like to partner with VOUS Church for one of our I Love My City outreaches, fill out this form. Our team would be honored to connect with you!