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Why serving in the church is so important

By: amanda thompson

I had a failed career as a tap dancer.

My dreams of tapping my way into musical theater ended at age seven with my lack of coordination and disdain for Lycra. But until my feet wouldn't move like the rest of the kids in the class, how would I have known I wasn't destined for the remake of Singing In the Rain? How would I know it wasn't what I was gifted to do unless I tried the shuffle-ball-step?

This pattern has been repeated in all of my life. Music lessons, after school clubs, changed majors, even favorite school subjects — all peeled back layers of who I was and who I wasn't. My math SAT scores, for example, speak volumes as to why I will never be an accountant. Instead, my love for the stories of history and English were clues pointing to a larger life picture.

Scripture tells us when we meet Jesus, we are all given at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:7). Spiritual gifts are specific ways the work of the Holy Spirit is manifested in our lives. These gifts — on top of our interests, abilities, hobbies, likes and dislikes — join together to form who we are and how we participate in the work God is doing all around us.

These are not only for us. We are not made to be who we are to serve just ourselves (1 Peter 4:10). I will never serve the world around me with my tap dancing or math skills. But I do love to tell stories. I do love dinner parties and kids. God takes who He has made me to be and matches it with the needs of others.

So what does it look like to really serve other people with our gifts?

What is Serving — Really?

I need a thousand things every day. I have big needs and small needs. Everyone around me does too. Sometimes the people around me see my needs before I do. The real treasure is when we act on what we see. When we shoot the text to the co-worker who had a tough day or move the elderly neighbor's trash can to the curb.

A good measure of our spiritual health is our depth of concern for other people.

As we allow the Gospel to change our hearts, we will develop a deep care for other people. Our attention will begin to turn away from ourselves and to the needs of others (Galatians 5:13). A good measure of our spiritual health is our depth of concern for other people. Eventually our hearts are so in tune with what Jesus is doing around us, He begins to use us to meet the needs of others.

Serving in the Church

The Gospel is enacted through the local church all across the world. The church is us: people who love Jesus serving others by parking cars, holding babies, to praying with others, pouring coffee, and opening their homes.

In this, God changes us. Serving in the local church is a vehicle to discover how we are made and how the Lord can use us. Serving provides us the opportunity to know more about how we are created: our likes and dislikes, what we can do well and what we cannot.

God fills in the picture for us. We discover more about ourselves and how He is growing us while He uses us to meet the needs of others. We learn best by doing.

A Beautiful Relationship

The discovery process of how God can take our unique selves and join with the work He is doing will last our entire lives. As we grow, as stages of life change, as we meet new people and participate in new activities, new ways to serve others will become clear to us. Our heart posture must always be the same: what I can do to serve other people?

Every week at NewSpring, we are given the opportunity to practice putting our attention less on ourselves and more on others. We will not be perfect. We may find ourselves serving in an area that doesn't match our gifting and need to adjust. We may also find we love a group of people or an area of ministry more than we thought we could. Either way, we jump in and start.

In this, God weaves a beautiful relationship between both working in us and through us.

It is lacing up our tap shoes and seeing what God can do.

Learn more about serving and find your people at www.newspring.cc/serving.

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