I’m not gonna lie – serving in church can be a little difficult at times.
But what I’ve learnt in my time serving is that while the forms and responsibilities of our service may change, the posture and principles remain the same.
Why? Because the Person we’re serving remains the same.
I wanted more wisdom like this when it comes to serving, so I turned to the Bible which is full of examples of how we can serve well – here are some of my takeaways!
1. Pray first
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Colossians 4:12)
Epaphras was known for helping Paul immensely in ministry. His secret? Epaphras was “always wrestling in prayer” for his brothers and sisters in Christ!
It’s a good thing to pray for God to bless the work of our hands. After all, if the Lord does not build the house, the builders labour in vain (Psalm 127:1).
It’s also great to intercede for the builders; blessing the people we are serving together with through prayer.
Epaphras prayed intentionally, constantly and passionately for his fellow workers.
How many of us would wrestle in prayer for our fellow team members? Is our prayer life even healthy and active?
I love this quote by John Bevere, which reads: “You are strong only to the degree that you rely on God’s strength.”
We must not undermine the importance of prayer when serving God.
Whatever we do, let prayer be our first response and never our last resort.
2. Work together
Teamwork makes the dream work. Perhaps the principle behind this famous phrase comes from Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law (Exodus 18:17-25).
Jethro saw that Moses was stretched thin and would soon be worn out by those he was serving. So he advised Moses to delegate his many burdens to trusted, capable men who feared God.
Before we find ourselves over-stretched and heading towards a burnout, we should heed Jethro’s wise words and learn to delegate responsibilities.
We are not indispensable! Let’s learn to share the load with others who display a fear of God, trustworthiness and a heart for God’s people.
There was a time in my life when I juggled way too many commitments, with ministry being one of them.
I thank God for the leaders who spoke into my life and taught me to empower the people around me!
Today, God has blessed me with an amazing team of five who are willing to serve their peers. Though they’re younger than I am, they pray for me and encourage me.
Truly, we were not made to serve alone. So, who’s that one person you could empower and share your load with?
Everyone has a part to play in the church and the Holy Spirit, who empowers you in your service, will definitely empower them too!
3. Serve selflessly
“After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.” (Genesis 24:19-20)
No, this isn’t Strong Girl Bong-soon – this is Rebekah. After giving a weary traveller a drink, she voluntarily offered to get water for his camels too.
When thirsty, a camel can drink up to 136 litres of water in one sitting – and the man had 10 camels!
Imagine how many trips Rebekah made with a heavy jar; and she was more than willing to do so at the expense of her time and energy, without seeking rewards.
Little did she know, that traveller was Abraham’s servant seeking a good wife for Isaac.
Like Rebekah, are we willing to serve selflessly even when no one is watching, or when there is no apparent benefit that comes out of it?
Let’s serve for the approval and audience of One. He alone deserves our selfless service and worship.
4. Show grace
“”So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:21)
What makes serving in church different from working at a company or leading in our CCAs? The answer: God’s grace.
Instead of resenting and punishing his brothers who sold him into slavery, Joseph forgave them, rescued them from famine and gave them a place to settle down in some of Egypt’s finest lands.
After mistakes have been made, will we point fingers, shift the blame and condemn?
Or will we bear with one another in love? And that’s the point of grace, right? To show undeserved favour to an unworthy person.
May we remember that we are first recipients of God’s great grace, and so pour out His grace to our fellow co-labourers in Christ!
Above all, let us look to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Even though He is the Creator, He took on human likeness (Philippians 2:5-7). He is King, yet He stooped to wash His disciples’ feet – even the feet of His betrayer (John 13:4-5).
Jesus was obedient to His Father and always relied on Him (Luke 6:2). And He gave abundant grace to Peter and restored him (John 21:15-19).
The One who is most worthy to be served is the perfect model of servanthood.
Let us desire to be more like Him as we serve!
- Define serving God.
- Based on what you’ve read in this article, how does your definition of service align with biblical servanthood?
- What are some practical changes you have to make to serve and love more like Christ?