We live in a consumer driven culture. Each day, we have many choices to make, such as where to live, where to work, where to eat out, where to go to the movies, where to go to church, where to shop, etc. We try to make the best choices, often using the criteria of “What is going to be the best for me and/or my family”, be it climate, income, neighborhood, selection, price, service, etc. It is easy to go along with the culture and look for others to serve us, our needs and desires.
Francis Chan, in his excellent book Letters to the Church, writes “It’s no secret that most people who attend church services come as consumers rather than servants.” However, as I look at the local church, I see the consumer driven mindset reversed. Rather than what is going to be the best for me, a healthy church member will look at life from a completely different perspective. They will follow the apostle Paul’s advice in Philippians 2:4 when he wrote “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Rather than looking at life from a consumer driven mentality, they will instead look for opportunities to demonstrate a sacrificial approach, imitating Jesus, who said in Mark 10:45 that he did not come to be served, but to serve. A healthy church member will put the needs of others in front of their own.
I have seen this demonstrated in our church, as I’m sure you have in your church as well. Here are just a few examples of this demonstration of Christ’s love in action that I’ve seen:
- Some years back, Diane and her husband were new to our church. It’s not uncommon when you are new to a church that you sit back and wait a while before you serve. You may even expect to be served by the church. Not Diane. My wife Tammy still recalls with joy that upon hearing of a need, there was Diane with her tool box, ready to serve. That’s how she got plugged in and connected at the church. She wasn’t waiting for someone else to initiate. Serving was how she began her time at the church, and that servant mentality was consistently demonstrated until she and her husband recently moved away. In addition, Diane did everything with excellence and with a great attitude.
- Like many churches, we have a ministry (ours is called the Sonshine Committee) that provides meals for those within the congregation when needed (after surgery, the birth of a baby, etc.). A woman in our congregation broke her ankle after a bad fall. She was in need of meals, and also needed help with getting her dog walked twice a day. The Sonshine Committee used the SignUpGenius tool to make these needs known, and members of the church quickly volunteered to serve this dear saint in a time of need.
- A woman in our church reached out for contractor recommendations because she had a roof leak. One of our wonderful deacons immediately contacted her and helped her with this problem, sacrificially helping her in her time of need.
- Our church takes a special monthly collection to help those within the church who have special financial needs. This could be due to a job loss, or unexpected expense. Many people have been helped over the years due to the sacrificial giving of people in the church.
- Years ago, prior to the widespread use of email, we had a dear woman who handled our “Prayer Chain”. People within the church could contact her and pass on a prayer request. These days, we have a new leader of this ministry, and she passes on the requests via email. One of the ways that you can serve sacrificially is by spending time praying for others.
- Some years back, one of our deacons saw the need to help those within the church with household moves – coming into town, going out of town or even moving within town. He has faithfully served dozens of families in the moving process by coordinating volunteers to assist with these household moves.
These are just a few examples of how members of the local church serve one another sacrificially in a counter cultural manner. You can add to this list hospital visits, cards, calls and emails, demonstration of hospitality, etc., all with the intention of encouraging those in need. This is truly faith in action (James 2:14-17)
What would you add to this list that you have seen in your church?