3 things I have learned from serving2
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”- 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)
Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of serving as a student leader for New Valley Students. I have led small groups, gone to conferences, and have had a lot of fun with kids who really aren’t that much younger than I am. It really has been a blast, but it also has been a great learning experience. It has shown me that there are few things as life transforming as serving the body of Christ. Here are three powerful things I have learned as a student leader:
1. The Call To Serve May Surprise You
When Gray first brought up the idea of me serving as a student leader, I was admittedly hesitant. I certainly had a sense that I was being called to serve in the church, but I didn’t really see myself fitting in that well with middle school and high school students.
Don’t rule out serving somewhere just because you aren’t sure it’s the right 'fit'
What I have actually discovered though is that being a younger adult helps me identify with our students more and actually allows me to lead them in a unique way. This has shown me that it’s important to listen to the voices around you when looking for a place to serve in the church. Don’t rule out serving somewhere just because you aren’t sure it’s the right “fit.” It might just surprise you how much you enjoy it and how God uses you there.
2) The Call To Serve Will Help You Identify Your Gifts
Serving New Valley Student’s has definitely helped me to identify my own spiritual gifts. Mainly, it has shown me that I am equipped for deep, personal ministry. It has shown me that I am capable of leading groups. I can also see how God is developing in me a gift for sharing my faith and my own personal story. I have discovered all of those gifts just by serving the church.
While serving in the church doesn’t usually lead to a call to full-time ministry, it absolutely does help show you what your gifts are. Serving on the prayer team could help you identify your own prayerful and compassionate heart, while serving in children’s ministry could show you that you have a gift with young children. How do you find out what your spiritual gifts are? The answer is through serving.
3) The Call To Serve Will Actually Serve You
“Because Jesus served you in such a radical way, you have a joyful need to serve. It’s a form of praise that doesn’t fully enjoy what it admires until it expresses itself in service.” -Timothy Keller
Perhaps the greatest and most perplexing aspect of serving the church is that you need to serve more than the church needs your service. In each one of us there is a need to be needed and a joyful calling to sacrificially serve the way Jesus has served us. The church gives you a place to fulfill that calling inside of a committed and loving community that supports and affirms you while helping you intentionally live out the Gospel through service. Ultimately, the church itself is actually serving us by giving us a place to serve.
This happens in several ways: First, serving helps us learn more about ourselves as we discover our own spiritual gifts. Secondly, serving also gives us the benefit of greater and deeper community, because serving draws us out of ourselves and into personal relationships with those around us (often the people we serve with will become our closest friends in the church). Finally, serving brings us joy and fulfillment when we start seeing how others and the church are being touched through our service.
Called to Serve
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” -Romans 12:6
In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul tells us what the church is supposed to look like: one body, equipped with many different parts, each serving different purposes. Being in the church means being part of a community of believers who support one another through prayer, intimate friendships, and deep, mutual ministry and service. Ultimately, it is through that service that our greatest desires are satisfied and we are made more like Christ by living out the message of the Gospel.