Eight Thoughts on Serving in the Local Church

  1. You should serve in the local church.

It is dangerous to assume all ministry wives serve. There may be a season when we are unable to take a regular place of service but we are not exempt from being a functioning member of the body of Christ. There are no Biblical exclusions for us. This is an obedience issue.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath beforehand ordained, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
  1. We serve Christ, not people or churches.

This distinction is huge. God brings me into a relationship with Himself where I hear His call and understand what He wants me to do, and I do it out of sheer love to Him. I serve out of call from, love for and gifting provided from GOD.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” Ephesians 6:7
We will serve recklessly if we are serving God. If we are serving people we will be always looking to a scoreboard for applause, wins, and highlight reels.
  1. You should seek God on where to serve.

Yes, I know this is Sunday-school answer — but it cannot be omitted. Let God be your guide. Seek your husband’s counsel. Don’t react to every request until you have sought the heart of God.

Speaking for myself—the times I have been over-committed, run ragged and in over my head—were things I DID to myself and failed to seek God. TRULY seek Him.

“Not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Ephesians 6:6

  1. You can serve anywhere temporarily.

Key word is TEMPORARILY. Gifted or not, called or not it will be the right thing to do. Perhaps there is “no one else” or because of your kid’s ages or your husband asked, you will find yourself in a short-term role. And in many cases it should stay short-term.

  1. You should feel a sense of duty.

Duty is rather dull and might even sound unbiblical or unspiritual. It is not a primary or highest motive of service, yet to have a sense of duty or responsibility to the church is not a bad thing. No, we are NOT responsible for everything but let’s not over-correct with irresponsibility. Stepping in where there’s a need; lending a hand to clear tables at fellowship, greeting new faces in worship or working at Harvest festival is part of being healthy, functioning body.

  1. You should serve primarily and with greatest longevity in the area of calling and giftedness.

Over time we should have discovery of our gifts and sense a call toward specific areas. This will come as we seek God’s heart, hear from Holy Spirit, and discern feedback from others. We can also learn this through triaL and error or experimentation.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians12: 4-7

  1. You can build strong, intimate relationships when you serve side by side with others.

We make strongest connections when we align passions and serve shoulder to shoulder with others. Strong bonds form. The “distance” sometimes felt by a ministry wife diminishes in the trenches of service. In the nearly 40 years I have spent in ministry the strongest friendships and most unforgettable moments were formed serving with others. Listen to Paul’s tender affection for those who labored “side by side with me”.

“Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers….” Philippians 4:3

  1. You will lead like Jesus when you serve.

If some notion has crept into your thinking that leaders may not have to serve, read your Bible:

“But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” Luke 22: 26-27

Jesus thwarts any idea of an entitled or exempt leader. He says the contrary “servers ARE leaders”. He not only expounded on the mountainside, He stooped to wash feet. Not just a nominal task a degrading one. It is dangerous for us to miss one of His last earthly gestures as a leader.

“For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13:15

Obviously, Jesus values servanthood. So should we.

What have you learned about serving?

Published October 10, 2014